Skip to main content

Full text of "History of North Carolina"

See other formats












FROM  1783  TO  1925 

The  necessitie  of  a  Historie  is,  as  of  a  Sworne  Witness, 
to  say  the  truth  (in  just  discretion)  and  nothing  but 
the  truth!  —  Samuel  Purchas,  in  “ Purchas  His 
Pilgrimes,’  ’  1625. 

Presses  of 

Edwards  &  Broughton  Printing  Company 

B>  o,  o  6»  4' 


All  Rights  Reserved 

17  5.  G 

CLjQl  5S 

V.  g 


I  dedicate  this  volume  to  the  memory  of  my  departed  friends, 
Henry  Groves  Connor  and  James  Sprunt,  both  deservedly  esteemed 
as  being  preeminent  among  the  first  citizens  of  the  State,  and  both, 
besides  their  remarkable  success  in  their  chosen  life  work,  also  dis¬ 
tinguished  as  authors.  To  them,  in  one  way  or  another,  the  possi¬ 
bility  of  the  preparation  of  this  volume  is  due,  and  if  the  work  shall 
be  deemed  of  value  to  the  State,  to  them  thanks  should  be  given. 

I  inscribe  their  names  here  in  grateful  remembrance  of  their  un¬ 
failing  friendship  and  constant  interest  in  the  accomplishment  of  my 

S.  A.  Ashe. 


»  • '  ::r;  s 






Explorations  and  Colonies 
A.D.  1584 — 1591.  Pages  1 — 49 

Permanent  Settlement 
A.D.  1629 — 1663.  Pages  50 — 87 


Proprietary  Government 
A.D.  1663 — 1729.  Pages  88 — 223 


North  Carolina  as  a  Royal  Province 
A.D.  1729 — 1765.  Pages  224 — 309 


Controversies  With  the  Mother  Country 
A.D.  1765 — 1775.  Pages  310 — 512 


The  War  for  Independence  and  the  Treaty  of  Peace 
A.D.  1775— 1783.  Pages  513—724 





The  Developed  State 

Social  conditions  in  1783. — Importation  of  slaves  taxed  and  in  some 
cases  forbidden. — The  State  of  Franklin. — The  proposed  union  of  states. — 
The  separate  state. 

A.D.  1783 — 1789.  Chapters  1 — 7.  Pages  1 — 118 


In  the  Union 

North  Carolina  joins  the  Union. — Conveys  Tennessee  to  the  Union. — The 
university  chartered. — Permanent  capital  established. — Friction  with  France. 
— Great  land  frauds. — The  Court  of  Conference. — The  new  century. — Re¬ 
ligious  excitement. — Emigration. — The  cotton  gin. 

A.D.  1789 — 1812.  Chapters  8 — 14.  Pages  119 — 223 


Efforts  for  Improvement 

War  with  Great  Britain. — The  first  cotton  mill. — Operations  at  sea. — Peace. 
— Transportation  drawbacks. — Steamboats. — Efforts  to  improve  navigation. 
— Colonization  societies. — Supreme  Court. — The  statue  of  Washington. — 
Fulton’s  work. — The  Western  Convention. — Sunday  schools. — Geological 

A.D.  1813 — 1824.  Chapters  15 — 18.  Pages  222 — 292 


Introduction  of  Railroads — Constitutional  Changes 

The  Carlton  Letters  for  schools  and  railroads. — Internal  Improvement 
Convention. — Capitol  burned. — Conflicting  interests. — Negro  insurrection. 
— Railroads  introduced. — Agitation  by  the  West  for  constitutional  reform. 
— The  State  Convention. — The  West  successful  and  gains  power. — The  Gov¬ 
ernor  elected  by  the  people. — Biennial  sessions. — Negro  suffrage  abolished. 

A.D.  1825 — 1836.  Chapters  19 — 23.  Pages  293 — 378 




Improved  Conditions 

The  public  land  fund  distributed. — Public  schools  established. — Manufac¬ 
turing  begins. — Colleges  chartered  — Railroads  begin. — The  Indians  removed. 
— The  great  campaign. — Internal  improvements. — Public  schools. — War  with 
Mexico. — The  Raleigh  and  Gaston  Railroad  bought  by  the  State. 

A.D.  1836 — 1848.  Chapters  24 — 28.  Pages  379 — 461 


General  Development 

A  turning  point. — The  North  Carolina  Railroad  chartered. — The  C,on- 
servative  Democracy  weakens. — State  aid  policy. — Plank  roads. — The 
Western  North  Carolina  Railroad  and  the  Atlantic  and  North  Carolina  Rail¬ 
road  chartered. — Free  suffrage. — Slavery  question  acute. — “Bleeding  Kansas.” 
— State  development. — Railroad  construction. 

A.D.  1848 — 1858.  Chapters  29 — 32.  Pages  462 — 519 


Agitation  Against  Slavery 

John  Brown’s  raid. — The  State  disturbed. — Industrial  and  educational 
progress. — The  Golden  Era. — Northern  Democrats  and  Southern  Democrats 
split. — The  Republicans  elect  the  President. — The  cotton  states  secede. — 
North  Carolina  and  the  border  states  adhere  to  the  Union. 

A.D.  1858 — 1860.  Chapters  33 — 34.  Pages  318 — 546 


The  Southern  Confederacy 

The  Peace  Conference. — Congress  proposes  a  constitutional  amendment. 
— President  Lincoln  inaugurated. — Inaugurates  war. — North  Carolina  sides 
with  the  South. — The  great  and  prolonged  contest. — The  North  victorious. 

A.D.  i860 — 1865.  Chapters  35 — 59.  Pages  547 — 1012 




The  President’s  plan. — Holden  Provisional  Governor.— Convention  meets. 
— The  State  returns  to  the  Union. — Worth  Governor. — Congress  dissents: 
declares  the  Southern  States  conquered;  that  statehood  did  not  exist;  the 
territory  part  of  a  military  district. — Under  military  government. — Negro 
suffrage  imposed. — A  convention  called. — New  constitution  adopted. — Holden 
Governor. — The  State  admitted  to  the  Union. 

A.D.  1865 — 1868.  Chapters  60 — 63.  Pages  1013 — 1091 

Republican  Administration 

Financial  disaster. — Social  disturbances. — Barn  burning. — The  Ku  Klux. 
— The  Kirk  war. — Judge  Brooks  upholds  the  constitution. — Holden  im¬ 
peached. — Resuscitation. 

A.D.  1868 — 1873.  Chapters  64 — 69.  Pages  1092 — 1161 

Conservative  Administration 

Progress. — County  government  reformed. — Local  option  begins. — 6,000 
schoolhouses  and  6,500  church  buildings. — The  University  reopened. — The 
College  of  Agriculture  and  Mechanic  Arts  started. — The  Normal  and  In¬ 
dustrial  College  for  Women. — The  Farmers  Alliance. — It  fuses  with  Repub¬ 
licans. — Fusion  in  control. — The  Wilmington  revolution. — Campaign  for 
educational  qualification  for  suffrage. — Great  advance  in  all  industries  and 
in  social  conditions. 

A.D.  1874 — 1900.  Chapters  69 — 72.  Pages  1162 — 1223 

Democratic  Administration 

Quietude  and  harmony  restored. — Prohibition. — Increased  population. — 
Strenuous  efforts  made  for  education. — The  functions  of  government  ex¬ 
panded. — Industries  springing  up. — Electricity  introduced. — Property  values, 
earnings  and  incomes  largely  increased. — Weakness  giving  place  to  strength. 

War  with  Germany. — Great  efforts  of  Governor  Bickett  and  the  entire 
State. — All  vie  in  patriotic  action. — North  Carolinians  in  the  war  on  land 
and  at  sea. — Their  glorious  record. — The  era  of  automobiles. — Good  roads. 
— The  new  life. — Great  expenditures  for  schools,  buildings  and  State  insti¬ 
tutions  and  tremendous  expansion  of  industries. — Department  of  Revenue. 
— Executive  Budget. — Improved  conditions. — Duke  University. 

The  North  manifests  appreciation  of  the  patriotism  of  the  South. — The 
prosperous  State  and  happy  people. 

A.  D.  1901 — 1925.  Chapters  73 — 78.  Pages  1224 — 1353 



The  Academy  -at  Salem  (1803)  .  162 

The  Albemarle,  ironclad  . 884 

The  Old  Capitol,  1793,  Canova’s  statue  of  Washington .  144 

The  New  Capitol,  1840  .  360 

Cotton  Mill,  Schenck-Hoke  at  Lincolnton,  the  first  at  the  South,  1813....  230 

Cotton  Mill,  Fries  at  Salem,  1837  .  230 

Loom  and  spinning  jenny  .  230 

Map  of  Battle  of  Bentonville .  980 

Eastern  Carolina  .  664 

Fall  of  Fort  Fisher  .  940 

Territory  Richmond  to  Fredericksburg .  728 

Maryland  Campaign  .  742 


Vance,  Zebulon  B.,  Unionist  till  call  for  troops;  War  Governor; 

U.  S.  Senator  .  Frontispiece 

Andrews,  Alexander  Boyd,  Vice  President  Southern  Railway  . 1090 

Ashe,  Thomas  S.,  Unionist  till  call  for  troops;  Representative  in  Con¬ 
federate  States  and  United  States  Congress;  jurist . 1034 

Ashe,  Wjlliam  S.,  author  North  Carolina  Railroad  Bill;  President  of 
W.  and  W.  Railroad;  major  in  charge  of  Confederate  transportation....  476 
Avery,  Isaac  E’rwin,  Colonel,  in  death  illustrates  spirit  of  Southland— .1012 
Aycock,  Charles  B.,  Governor;  urgent  promoter  of  education . 1224 

Badger,  George  E.,  Senator;  Unionist  till  call  for  troops;  offered  ordi¬ 

nance  of  secession  .  590 

Barringer,  Rufus,  urgent  for  N.  C.  Railroad;  great  cavalry  general .  476 

Battle,  Kemp  P.,  Unionist.  Revives  University;  then  first  President . 1224 

Berry,  Hattie  Morehead,  created  atmosphere  for  good  roads . 1314 

Bickett,  Thomas  W.,  efficient  World  War  Governor . 1256 

Bickett,  Mrs.  T.  W.  (Fannie  Yarborough),  leader  in  progress,  social 

service  and  many  patriotic  activities . 1256 

Biggs,  Asa,  Senator;  Judge  United  States  and  Confederate  States  Courts. .1202 
Bragg,  Thomas,  Governor;  Senator;  opposed  to  secession;  Confederate 

States  Attorney  General  .  634 

Branch,  Lawrence  O’B.,  General .  820 

Bridgers,  Robert  R.,  President  Wilmington  and  Weldon  Railroad . 1090 

Brooks,  George  W.,  Unionist;  United  States  judge;  maintains  civil  law... .1116 

Caldwell,  Joseph  P.,  editor  of  Charlotte  Observer . 1202 

Carr,  Julian  S.,  early  manufacturer . 1256 

Clark,  Henry  T.,  acting  War  Governor . . .  634 

Clark,  Walter,  Chief  Justice,  author . 1202 




Connor,  Henry  Groves,  eminent  jurist;  admired  citizen;  author . 1328 

Cotten,  Sallie  Southall,  early  woman  organizer;  author . 1192 

Cowan,  Robert  H.,  President  Wilmington  and  Charlotte  Railroad;  influen¬ 
tial  in  public  action  . 1034 

Cox,  William  R.,  General;  fired  last  volley  at  Appomattox .  820 

Craven,  Braxton,  President  and  founder  of  Trinity  College.. .  408 

Daniels,  Josephus,  editor;  Secretary  of  the  Navy  in  the  World  War; 

author  . 1280 

Davis,  George,  Peace  Conference;  Confederate  States  Senator;  Con¬ 
federate  States  Attorney  General  .  634 

Dobbin,  James  C.,  Secretary  of  the  Navy;  orator;  eminent  citizen .  504 

Dudley,  Edward  B.,  first  railroad  president;  Governor;  progressive .  306 

Duke,  James  Buchanan,  manufacturer;  developed  electricity;  established 

Duke  University  and  other  foundations . 1332 

Duke,  Washington,  early  manufacturer . 1188 

Ellis,  John  W.,  jurist;  Governor  when  State  sided  with  the  South .  634 

Erwin,  William  A.,  cotton  manufacturer  whose  mill  villages  are  ideal.... 1188 

Fisher,  Charles  F.,  railroad  president;  colonel;  killed  at  Manassas .  686 

Fries,  Miss  Adelaide  L.,  author;  translator  of  Moravian  Records;  Pres¬ 
ident  Historical  Association  . 1814 

Gaston,  William,  eminent  jurist  and  revered  citizen .  306 

Gilmer,  John  A.,  influential  leader;  devoted  Unionist;  would  go  down 

on  his  knees  to  Lincoln  not  to  begin  war . 1 .  590 

Graham,  William  A.,  Governor;  favored  North  Carolina  Railroad;  Sec¬ 
retary  of  the  Navy;  devoted  Unionist  until  call  for  troops;  Confederate 

States  Senator  . - . . - .  476 

Graves,  Calvin,  Speaker  of  the  Senate;  gave  casting  vote  for  North 

Carolina  Railroad  .  416 

Grimes,  Bryan,  Major  General;  brilliant  career;  Cox’s  brigade  of  Grimes’s 

Division  fired  last  volley  at  Appomattox .  820 

Hawkins,  William  J.,  President  Raleigh  and  Gaston  Railroad . 1090 

Hill,  Daniel  H.,  Lieutenant  General  .  686 

Hobbs,  Mrs.  Mary  Mendenhall,  educator;  urgent  for  education  of  women. .1314 
Holden,  William  W.,  influential  editor;  Governor  in  troublous  times; 

impeached  . .1116 

Holt,  Edwin  M.,  first  large  manufacturer  of  cotton  goods  in  State . 1188 

Hoke,  Robert  F.,  Major  General;  highly  esteemed  by  Lee;  victor  at 

Plymouth;  distinguished  at  Bentonville  .  686 

Jarvis,  Thomas  J.,  Governor;  leader  in  progress . 1034 

Jerman,  Mrs.  Palmer,  President  State  Federation  of  Women’s  Clubs; 
President  of  Legislative  Council;  delegate  to  National  Democratic 

Convention  . 1314 

Johnson,  Mrs.  Kate  Burr,  first  Commissioner  of  Board  of  Charities  and 
Public  Welfare  . 1314 




Joyner,  Janies  Y.,  Superintendent  of  Public  Instruction;  leader  in  educa¬ 
tional  movement  . - . 1224 

Kingsbury,  Theodore  B.,  prominent  in  literature;  editor  of  the  Wil¬ 
mington  Star  . 1202 

Kitchin,  Claude,  Democratic  leader  of  House  of  Representatives  during 

the  World  War  . - . 1280 

Mclver,  Charles  D.,  promoter  of  education;  founder  and  President  of 

State  College  for  Women  . 1224 

McKimmon,  Mrs.  Charles,  a  great  benefactor  of  the  State  in  Home 

Demonstration  . 1314 

McLean,  Angus  W.,  Governor;  introduced  reforms;  allowed  unusual 

powers  . 1332 

MacRae,  Hugh,  successful  promoter  of  valuable  enterprises . 1256 

Mangum,  Willie  P.,  jurist;  United  States  Senator  .  504 

Martin,  James  G.,  Adjutant  General;  organized  and  prepared  the  North 

Carolina  troops  in  1861-62 .  634 

Meredith,  Thomas,  editor  of  Baptist  Interpreter  (afterwards  Biblical 
Recorder)  ;  author  of  first  Constitution  of  Baptist  State  Convention....  504 
Merrimon,  Augustus  S.,  Unionist  until  call  for  troops;  United  States 

Senator;  Chief  Justice  .  590 

Mitchell,  Elisha,  first  State  Geologist;  distinguished  educator .  306 

Moore,  Bartholomew  F.,  Unionist;  great  lawyer . . .  590 

Morehead,  John  M.,  Governor;  builder  of  railroads .  476 

Moore,  Mrs.  Marinda  Branson,  author  of  school  books  during  the  war. ...1192 
Morrison,  Cameron,  Governor;  brought  to  the  State  the  era  of  hard 

surfaced  highways  and  many  improvements . 1332 

Morrison,  Robert  Hall,  the  first  president  of  Davidson;  his  daughters 
married  Stonewall  Jackson,  Generals  Hill  and  Barringer,  and  Judge 

Avery  . 408 

Murphey,  Archibald  D.,  jurist;  preceptor  of  many  distinguished  public 

men;  the  most  progressive  statesman  of  his  generation .  306 

Overman,  Lee  S.,  Senator  of  great  usefulness,  especially  in  World  War. ...1280 
Page,  Frank,  successful  builder  of  5,000  miles  of  hard-surfaced  roads 

of  untold  value  to  the  State  . 1332 

Pender,  William  D.,  Major  General;  highly  esteemed  by  Lee .  686 

Pettigrew,  J.  Johnston,  Major  General;  highly  esteemed  by  Lee;  led  in 

the  charge  at  Gettysburg .  686 

Pearson,  Richmond  M.,  Chief  Justice  of  great  learning . 1116 

Poe,  Clarence,  editor  of  the  Progressive  Farmer;  bringing  great  im¬ 
provement  to  the  State  . 1314 

Pritchard,  Jeter  C.,  United  States  Senator;  Judge  of  United  States 
Circuit  Court;  very  highly  esteemed . 1202 




Ransom,  Matthew  W.,  orator;  General;  United  States  Senator;  Minister 

to  Mexico  . 820 

Reid,  David  S.,  author  of  “Free  Suffrage”;  Governor;  U.  S.  Senator .  504 

Reilley,  Mrs.  J.  Eugene,  a  leader  in  the  social  elevation  of  women . 1286 

Reynolds,  Richard  J.,  successful  manufacturer  . . . 1286 

Robertson,  Mrs.  Lucy  H.,  President  of  Greensboro  College  for  Women. ...1314 
Ruffin,  Thomas,  great  Chief  Justice;  Unionist;  opposed  to  secession  until 

call  for  troops  .  504 

Saunders,  William  L.,  publicist  of  ability;  Editor  Raleigh  Observer; 

collector  and  editor  of  Colonial  Records . 1034 

Scales,  Alfred  M.,  General;  Governor,  particularly  venerated .  820 

Settle,  Thomas,  Unionist  until  call  for  troops;  orator;  jurist  of  fine 

capacity  and  influence  .  590 

Shotwell,  Randolph  A.,  a  martyr  of  Ku  Klux  times;  editor . 1116 

Simmons,  Furnifold  M.,  successful  leader  against  Fushion;  successful 
in  establishing  educational  test  for  suffrage;  Democratic  leader  in 

United  States  Senate  during  the  World  War . 1280 

Spencer,  Cornelia,  eminent  author  and  of  wide  influence . 1192 

Sprunt,  James,  creator  of  great  commerce;  author;  eminent  citizen . 1328 

Stedman,  Charles  M.,  esteemed  citizen;  the  last  Confederate  in  Congress. .1280 
Swain,  David  L.,  Governor;  instrumental  in  reforming  the  constitution 

in  1835;  President  of  the  University .  908 

Tiernan,  Mrs.  F.  C.  (Miss  Fisher;  Christian  Reid),  author . 1192 

Tompkins,  David  A.,  manufacturer  and  promoter  of  manufacturing . 1188 

Turner,  Josiah,  Jr.,  Union  man  until  the  call  for  troops;  editor;  violent 

in  opposition  to  Reconstruction  regime . . . 1116 

Van  Landingham,  Mrs.  M.  O.,  devoted  to  stimulating  the  culture  of 

woman  . 1286 

Waddell,  James  Iredell,  the  last  Confederate  in  arms;  surrendered  the 

Shenandoah  to  Great  Britain  in  August,  1865 . 1012 

Wait,  Samuel,  the  first  President  of  Wake  Forest  College . ' .  408 

Wheeler,  John  H.,  author  of  History  of  the  State . 1192 

Wilson,  James,  famous  engineer  in  railroad  construction . 1090 

Wiley,  Calvin  H.,  first  Superintendent  of  Public  Instruction;  author .  408 

Winder,  John  C.,  military  engineer;  constructor  of  railroads,  etc . 1090 

Winston,  George  T.,  President  University  and  A.  &  M.  College;  gave 

impulse  to  educational  awakening  . 1224 

Woody,  Mary  C.,  of  Guilford  College  . 1286 

Worth,  Jonathan,  Union  man  until  the  call  for  troops;  Governor; 
esteemed  citizen  . 1034 


•At  the  period  this  volume  of  the  history  of  North  Carolina  operfs 
the  State  was  under  the  government  established  by  the  Constitution 
adopted  in  1776,  with  perfect  autonomy,  but  was  in  association  with 
the  other  states  forming  the  Confederacy.  The  struggle  for  inde¬ 
pendence  had  closed  and,  in  the  treaty  of  peace  signed  in  September 
1783,  Great  Britain  formally  acknowledged  North  Carolina  and  each 
of  her  sister  states  separately  and  particularly  to  be  “free,  sovereign 
and  independent  states.” 

Alexander  Martin  was  Governor ;  Ashe,  Spencer  and  Williams  were 
the  Judges;  Hawkins,  Nash,  Williamson  and  Spaight  were  the  dele¬ 
gates  to  the  Continental  Congress. 







Social  Conditions  in  1783 

Social  conditions  in  1783. — The  general  condition  of  the  com¬ 
monwealth. — No  transportation  facilities. — The  animosity  against 
the  Tories. — The  absence  of  currency. — No  facilities  for  dissemin¬ 
ating  information. — The  County  Courts. — Their  social  features. — 
Their  educational  value. — Courts  of  Equity  established. — The  low 
state  of  religion. — Asbury’s  estimate  of  the  people. — Patillo’s  view. 
— No  religious  intolerance. — The  Church  of  England  becomes  the 
Protestant  Episcopal  Church — The  Baptists  and  Presbyterians. — 
The  Methodists. — Conditions  promotive  of  illiteracy. — No  public 
schools. — But  few  private  schools. — No  printing  press. — Social 
culture. — The  Masonic  Order.— The  tone  democratic. — The  disso¬ 
lution  of  the  Cincinnati. — Keith  sets  up  a  print  shop  and  book 
store. — The  pamphleteers. — Death  of  Burke. — The  negroes. — The 
master’s  right  in  his  slaves. — Few  great  estates. — The  negroes 
attend  church. — The  slave  trade  held  injurious. — Free  negroes  as 
Continental  soldiers. — They  gain  the  right  of  suffrage. — Some 
become  slave-owners — Some  effects  of  the  war. 

Social  conditions  in  North  Carolina  in  the  year  1783,  the 
year  of  peace  and  independence,  were  Arcadian  in  their  sim¬ 
plicity.  The  commonwealth,  extending  far  into  the  wilder¬ 
ness,  numbered  some  350,000  souls,  slaves  and  free,  widely 
scattered,  nearly  one-tenth  beyond  the  distant  mountains ; 
with  no  city — and  indeed  only  a  few  villages  whose  popu¬ 
lation  reached  a  thousand;  as  yet  commerce,  so  long  inter¬ 
rupted,  had  not  revived;  there  were  no  manufactures  save 
the  work  of  the  men  and  women  in  their  homes ;  but  depre¬ 
ciated  currency ;  poor  markets  and  only  bad  highways ;  no 



N.  C., 

I,  279 



newspapers,  and  not  a  single  printing  press ;  but  few  schools, 
and  religious  instruction  but  scantily  supplied — in  a  word, 
with  nought  but  freedom  and  farm  products,  manhood  and 

Nor  were  the  people  entirely  united  in  the  bonds  of  amity 
and  friendship.  Probably  a  full  third  of  the  white  popula¬ 
tion  had  not  espoused  the  cause  of  separation  and  independ¬ 
ence.  Early  in  the  struggle  a  considerable  number,  un¬ 
willing  to  take  the  test  oath,  had  under  the  stringent  laws  of 
the  State,  been  forced  from  their  homes  and  had  sought  shel¬ 
ter  abroad.  Later,  when  Hamilton,  a  Scotch  merchant,  and 
MacLeod,  a  Scotch  minister,  arranged  for  the  formation  of  a 
loyal  regiment,  many  repaired  to  the  King’s  standard.  From 
time  to  time  others  joined  this  regiment ;  but  between  the  sup¬ 
pression  of  the  Royalists  at  Moore’s  Creek,  followed  quickly 
by  the  defeat  of  the  British  fleet  at  Charleston,  and  the  ap¬ 
pearance  of  Fanning  on  the  upper  Cape  Fear  in  1780,  there 
was  a  period  of  comparative  repose,  during  which  the  disaf¬ 
fected  adjusted  themselves  to  the  prevailing  conditions.  The 
Assembly,  session  after  session,  postponed  putting  into  full 
operation  the  confiscation  acts,  and,  practicing  tolerance  and 
conciliation,  allowed  the  Tories  to  remain  unmolested,  class¬ 
ing  them,  along  with  the  Quakers,  as  “non-jurors,”  but  im¬ 
posing  special  taxes  on  them. 

The  bridge  between  a  “non- juror”  and  a  “good  and  true 
citizen”  was  opened  and  made  easy  to  cross;  and  along  with 
Rev.  George  Micklejohn,  James  Hunter,  Dr.  Pyle  and  many 
other  conspicuous  Tories  who  soon  took  the  test  oath,  men  of 
smaller  consequence  resumed  association  and  fellowship  with 
their  Whig  neighbors.  But  the  harrowing  events  of  1781, 
when  the  malcontents  under  McNeil  and  Fanning  established 
a  reign  of  terror  in  the  Cape  Fear  region,  put  an  end  to  toler¬ 
ation.  The  inhumanities  and  butcheries  of  the  closing  years 
of  the  long  struggle  left  an  indelible  mark  on  the  social 
conditions  of  the  State.  Fierce  resentment  and  implacable 
hatred  took  possession  of  the  contending  factions ;  and  when 



the  British  Army  withdrew  many  of  the  Tories  departed, 
some  going  to  Florida  and  some  to  Nova  Scotia,  where  the 
negroes  carried  off  by  the  British  also  were  located,  while 
others  sought  new  homes  in  the  distant  west,  even  crossing 
the  mountains  and  establishing  themselves  in  the  outskirts 
of  the  western  settlements.  It  was  in  that  period  of  ran¬ 
corous  animosity  that  the  former  policy  of  conciliation  was 
abandoned  and  measures  were  taken  to  enforce  the  confisca¬ 
tion  laws;  and  thus' when  blessed  peace  came  there  were 
mingled  with  the  peans  of  victory  loud  execrations  of  the 
hated  Tories. 

The  waste  of  the  war  had  not  yet  been  overcome.  Espe¬ 
cially  in  the  Cape  Fear  counties  had  the  destruction  been 
great;  and  so  many  families  there  were  in  dire  need  that  by  a 
general  law  they  were  to  be  exempt  from  the  payment  of 
taxes  in  the  discretion  of  the  county  justices.  Elsewhere  the 
inhabitants  were  suffering  because  of  the  absence  of  markets 
and  of  facilities  to  dispose  of  the  products  of  their  industry, 
but  the  people  were  measurably  inured  to  their  situation  and 
had  been  so  long  accustomed  to  their  privations  that  they 
scarcely  realized  the  hardships.  They  had  known  nothing 

Life  offered  no  field  for  activity  but  on  the  farm  and  in  the 
forests ;  and  clearing  new  land  and  making  forest  products 
were  the  only  openings  for  energy  and  enterprise. 

During  the  war,  to  supply  the  necessities  of  the  people  as 
well  as  the  needs  of  the  army,  bounties  had  been  freely 
offered  to  stimulate  manufactures,  but  when  the  occasion  had 
passed  the  bounties  ceased.  Yet  the  looms  were  still  busy, 
skins  were  tanned,  and  furs  secured  from  otters  and  beavers, 
and  shoemakers  and  hatters  plied  their  trades. 

At  that  period  factories  had  not  been  erected  anywhere  in 
America ;  there  were  no  power  looms,  and  only  the  spinning 
jenny  and  hand  weaving  were  in  use,  and  nails  were  still 
made  by  hand.  But  so  industrious  were  the  people  in  their 










homes  that  many  districts  not  only  clothed  themselves,  but 
had  a  surplus  of  cotton,  linen,  and  woolen  cloths  for  sale. 

In  the  tidewater  regions  where  naval  stores  abounded, 
men  found  profitable  employment  in  making  tar,  pitch,  and 
turpentine,  of  which  the  mercantile  world  stood  in  great 
need,  while  lumber  and  staves  were  always  in  demand  for 
the  West  Indies.  In  colonial  days  trade  with  the  British 
Islands  in  the  Caribbean  sea  had  brought  in  a  liberal  supply 
of  specie;  but  when  the  State  separated  herself  from  the  Brit¬ 
ish  empire  the  restrictive  navigation  laws  obstructed  that 
commerce.'  Yet  England  soon  fostered  shipments  to  her  own 
ports,  and  the  London  merchants  hastened  to  send  their  goods 
to  markets  that  were  bare  of  foreign  manufactures. 

The  great  forests  of  the  State,  so  rich  in  products,  were 
virtually  unbroken.  While  near  the  coast  and  in  the  Albe¬ 
marle  regions  there  were  some  large  plantations,  in  the  in¬ 
terior  the  holdings  were  smaller,  and  the  clearings  were  only 
such  as  were  needed  for  cultivation.  Generally  every  man 
owned  his  land,  and,  as  there  was  no  labor  for  hire,  tilled 
his  own  fields.  Back  from  the  markets  where  there  was  a 
surplus  of  corn  and  grain,  hogs  and  cattle  were  raised  and 
driven  on  foot  for  sale.  Also  in  some  communities  grain 
was  converted  into  whiskey,  and  the  fruits  of  the  orchard 
into  brandy. 

Agriculture,  the  chief  occupation  of  the  inhabitants,  had 
long  received  intelligent  application,  and  despite  adverse 
conditions  presented  examples  of  thrift  and  skill.  At  the 
east  rice  and  indigo  were  grown,  as  well  as  flax  and  cotton ; 
while  along  the  water-courses,  lumber  and  staves  and  naval 
stores  were  produced.  In  the  upper  country  where  the  soil 
and  climate  were  suitable  tobacco  and  the  cereals  were  culti¬ 
vated,  and  clover  was  not  unknown.  Mr.  Hooper,  a  lawyer 
rather  than  a  farmer,  wrote  to  his  merchant  at  Edenton, 
“Send  me  a  barrel  of  clover  seed.” 

But  transportation  facilities  were  sadly  lacking ;  and  back 
from  the  rivers  the  want  of  good  roads  was  a  serious  draw- 



back.  Public  highways  had  been  laid  out  connecting  the 
back  country  with  the  several  market  towns  of  the  east,  but 
they  could  not  be  maintained  in  good  condition,  and  the 
northwestern  counties  found  it  more  convenient  to  trade  with 
Virginia  towns,  and  southwestern  with  Charleston.  The 
exports  were  tobacco,  tar,  pitch,  turpentine,  potash,  staves, 
lumber,  rice,  and  provisions,  all  of  these  except  tobacco  alone 
being  the  products  of  the  east.  Indeed  transportation  to 
market  involved  such  an  expense  as  to  largely  deprive  the 
products  of  the  distant  interior  of  their  value. 

Necessarily  all  sales  of  products  were  made  to  merchants, 
who  established  themselves  at  convenient  points  in  the  inte¬ 
rior,  and  setting  their  own  prices,  made  great  gains  by  their 

Of  money  there  was  none ;  the  State  as  well  as  the  Con¬ 
tinental  currency  had  ceased  to  have  value,  and  to  express 
utter  worthlessness  the  phrase  was  coined — “not  worth  a 
continental."  Money  is  not  only  of  value  in  itself,  but  it  is 
the  standard  by  which  the  value  of  other  things  is  measured 
and  the  chief  instrument  of  commerce  by  which  exchanges 
are  made,  and  the  very  foundation  stone  of  credit.  When 
the  State  and  Continental  paper  fell,  there  was  virtually 
no  specie  in  circulation.  Neither  gold  nor  silver  had  been 
found  in  any  of  the  colonies,  and  the  entire  country  was 
dependent  on  such  foreign  coin  as  could  be  obtained  for 
commodities,  and  there  were  but  few  commodities  to  send 
abroad.  The  people  were  indeed  without  a  currency.  In 
the  extremity  recourse  was  again  had  to  an  issue  of  State 
bills.  At  the  April  meeting  of  the  Assembly  a  proposition 
to  emit  new  bills,  matured  by  William  Blount,  met  with 
general  concurrence.  To  give  the  issue  a  footing  of  sub¬ 
stantial  value  a  special  tax  was  levied  to  redeem  it,  and  its 
redemption  was  further  secured  by  a  pledge  of  all  the  con¬ 
fiscated  property  of  the  Tories  held  by  the  State.  The  cur¬ 
rency  of  the  Revolution  had  been  dollars  to  distinguish  it 
from  colonial  issues ;  and  now  to  emphasize  that  the  new 



C.  R.,  XXIV 






No  interior 

The  County 

issue  was  on  a  distinct  footing,  it  was  in  pounds  and  shil¬ 
lings,  the  pound  being  of  the  value  of  two  and  a  half  silver 
dollars.  The  shilling  was  the  same  as  the  Spanish  “bit,” 
later  twelve  and  a  half  cents.  The  amount  was  conserva¬ 
tively  limited  to  a  hundred  thousand  pounds. 

There  were  no  buggies,  but  few  coaches,  and  traveling 
was  on  horseback,  men  riding  their  own  horses  hundreds 
of  miles,  and  the  women  seldom  visiting  out  of  their  neigh¬ 
borhood.  The  Assembly  had  established  no  mail  facilities, 
but  the  post  route  opened  at  the  beginning  of  the  Revolu¬ 
tion,  along  the  coast,  passing  through  Edenton  and  New 
Bern  and  Wilmington,  had  been  continued  by  Congress  and 
was  still  in  operation,  but  there  were  no  post  ridings  to  the 
interior.  Letters  were  sent  by  hand.  Without  means  of  com¬ 
munication,  the  dissemination  of  intelligence  among  the  peo¬ 
ple  was  slow  and  unreliable.  Information  about  current 
affairs  was  acquired  by  conversations  at  casual  meetings,  at 
religious  gatherings  and  the  sessions  of  the  county  courts. 
Indeed,  these  quarterly  courts  had  no  inconsiderable  educa¬ 
tional  value.  More  than  any  other  instrumentality  they 
kept  the  people  in  touch  with  civilization.  In  every  dis¬ 
trict  of  each  county  there  were  two  or  more  justices  of  the 
peace,  and  constables,  and  often  a  deputy  sheriff.  The  jus¬ 
tices  were  men  of  responsibility  and  approved  character,  and 
around  them  centered  a  strong  personal  influence.  They  met 
quarterly  at  the  courthouse  and  administered  the  public  af¬ 
fairs  of  the  county.  They  laid  taxes,  appointed  officers, 
provided  for  the  poor,  looked  after  the  orphans  and  the  set¬ 
tlement  of  estates  of  deceased  persons.  They  laid  off  roads, 
appointed  the  overseers  and  directed  the  construction  of 
bridges.  In  a  word  they  exercised  all  the  powers  of  govern¬ 
ment  in  matters  of  local  interest  in  the  several  neighborhoods 
of  the  county.  Also,  they  tried  offenses  against  the  law  and 
civil  suits  between  litigants.  Necessarily  they  were  attended 
by  many  jurors,  witnesses  and  parties  interested  in  their 
proceedings.  Others  with  no  particular  business  likewise 



attended  from  a  desire  of  intercourse  with  fellow-men ;  and 
so  those  occasions  thus  drew  great  crowds  together,  and  at 
such  times  private  accounts  were  settled,  trades  were  made, 
and  ordinarily  there  was  much  swapping  of  horses,  and  oc¬ 
casional  trials  of  speed,  for  the  people  dearly  loved  a  horse 
race ;  also,  there  were  more  or  less  drinking  and  carousing, 
and  contests,  friendly  and  otherwise,  of  personal  prowess. 
It  was  always  a  field  day  when  court  met.  But  apart  from 
the  social  side  of  such  meetings,  in  addition  to  these  oppor¬ 
tunities  of  social  intercourse,  there  was  a  distinct  value  in 
training  the  people  in  respect  for  law,  and  in  educating  them 
in  local  administration,  in  legal  processes  and  in  matters  of 
public  concern.  Many  a  man  who  could  read  no  word  in  a 
book  knew  well  the  common  law  of  the  land,  knew  private 
rights  and  wrongs,  knew  nice  distinctions  and  could  weigh 
with  unerring  judgment  the  value  of  evidence.  As  deficient 
in  schooling  as  the  Barons  of  Runnymede,  they  had  intelli¬ 
gence  trained  by  experience  into  practical  wisdom. 

In  1783  the  system  of  judicature  was  perfected  by  invest¬ 
ing  the  Superior  Court  judges  with  equity  jurisdiction,  such 
as  the  Court  of  Chancery  had  under  the  Crown,  but  which 
had  not  been  exercised  by  any  court  since  the  Revolution. 
There  was,  however,  a  provision  that  no  final  decree  should 
be  entered  except  when  two  judges  were  present.  Now, 
the  hardships  of  strict  law  were  mitigated  by  an  appeal 
to  conscience,  and  while  the  judges  might  enter  a  judg¬ 
ment  in  the  law  court,  sitting  in  equity,  they  could  enjoin  its 

Religion,  the  traditional  inheritance  of  the  race,  meas¬ 
urably  entered  into  the  lives  of  the  people  who,  however, 
were  generally  neither  warmly  attached  to  doctrine  nor  very 
demonstrative  in  their  zeal.  Francis  Asbury  noted  in  his 
Journal  in  April,  1780,  that  he  preached  in  Halifax  County 
to  about  five  hundred  persons — and  “the  people  were  sol¬ 
emnly  attentive."  A  few  days  later,  he  found  “people  were 

Courts  of 





1"80  for  the  ordinances,  though  not  heated.”  At  the  Tabernacle, 

about  four  hundred  attended : — “The  people  very  insensi¬ 
ble.  I  think  these  people  must  be  awakened  by  judgment,  for 
it  appears  the  gospel  will  not  do  it” ;  on  Sunday  at  Green 
Hill’s,  Franklin  County,  O’Kelly  “raised  high,  and  was  very 
affecting,  but  to  little  purpose.  There  are  evils  here, — the 
meeting  not  solemn :  the  women  appeared  to  be  full  of  dress ; 
the  men  full  of  news.  The  people  are  gospel  slighters :  I 
fear  some  heavy  stroke  will  come  on  them.”  Somewhat 
later  Rev.  Henry  Patillo,  a  learned  and  observant  Presby¬ 
terian  minister,  a  man  of  great  liberality  and  thoroughly 
imbued  with  a  spirit  of  Christianity,  wrote :  “As  to  our 
young  people,  and  others  not  well  settled  in  their  principles 
joining  with  other  professions,  and  particularly  the  Metho¬ 
dists,  I  would  just  observe  that  this  seems  to  be  the  versatile 
season  with  America ;  and  a  change  of  religious  profession 
has  become  almost  as  common  and  as  little  noted  as  the  vari¬ 
ations  of  the  weather  in  this  most  changeable  climate.” 

This  zealous  Presbyterian  also  mentioned  having  received 
warm,  friendly  letters  from  the  Methodists — whose  bias  nat¬ 
urally  was  towards  the  Church  of  England — “expressing 
c.  R.,  xxiv,  their  wishes  to  cultivate  a  nearer  intercourse,  and  that  bigotry 
might  cease  among  Christians”;  nor  were  the  Baptists  of  a 
different  mind,  for  he  likewise  pointed  to  “the  friendly  inter¬ 
course  that  subsists  between  the  Baptists  and  us  in  all  re¬ 
spects,  except  communion,  known  and  acknowledged  by  all.” 
Altogether,  the  picture  he  presents  is  free  from  the  baneful 
spirit  of  religious  intolerance.  Indeed  no  zealous  attach¬ 
ment  to  doctrine  can  be  observed,  but,  rather,  there  was  an 
expressed  desire  of  Christian  fellowship.  Doubtless  in  those 
years  when  the  denominations  were  unorganized  and  when 
there  was  an  insufficient  number  of  ministers,  there  was  a 
loosening  of  religious  ties  and  an  indisposition  to  adhere 
closely  to  doctrine ;  but  the  seeds  of  piety  had  been  sown  and 
were  planted  in  a  fruitful  soil,  even  if  they  lay  dormant  for 

a  season. 



In  colonial  days  the  Church  of  England  had  in  some  meas¬ 
ure  been  organized  in  the  eastern  counties,  especially  near  the 
Virginia  line,  but  as  constituted,  upon  the  declaration  of 
independence  it  was  a  solecism  and  out  of  place  in  the  col¬ 
onies.  A  portion  of  the  National  Church  of  England,  with 
the  rubric  of  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer  requiring  a  prayer 
for  the  King,  it  did  not  fit  the  new  conditions.  Its  mem¬ 
bers  had  been  foremost  in  asserting  their  political  rights, 
and  under  their  leadership,  chiefly,  the  Revolution  had  been 
begun  and  brought  to  a  successful  close.  Notwithstanding 
the  separation  from  England,  by  them  it  continued  to  be  re¬ 
garded  as  the  Apostolic  church,  and  they  remained  true  to 
their  faith  and  devotedly  attached  to  the  rites,  ceremonies 
and  practices  of  “the  church.”  While  the  position  of  the 
laymen  was  thus  peculiar,  that  of  the  ministers,  being  under 
the  jurisdiction  of  the  Bishop  of  London,  was  full  of  embar¬ 
rassment.  One  of  them,  Rev.  Mr.  Wills,  at  Wilmington, 
withdrew  from  his  charge  in  1775,  although  he  remained 
on  the  Cape  Fear  and  performed  the  marriage  service  and 
perhaps  other  rites  during-  the  war.  As  the  •  ordination  of 
a  new  minister  could  be  only  by  the  Bishop  of  London,  no 
other  was  then  called,  and  twenty  years  elapsed  before  that 
pulpit  was  again  filled. 

At  New  Bern,  Rev.  Mr.  Reed,  although  a  Loyalist,  con¬ 
tinued  to  officiate ;  while  the  Edenton  congregation  had  the 
services  of  Rev.  Charles  Pettigrew,  a  warm  patriot,  in  the 
place  of  the  Rev.  Mr.  Earle,  who,  in  1775,  retired  to  his  farm 
in  Bertie  County,  although  his  sympathies  were  with  the 
people.  Rev.  George  Mickle john,  the  pastor  at  Hillsboro, 
who  was  taken  at  Moore’s  Creek,  remained  in  the  State  and 
eventually  took  the  test  oath,  and  after  peace  was  a  minister 
in  Virginia.  The  other  incumbents  are  said  to  have  been  in 
sympathy  with  the  Revolution  and  to  have  continued  their 
services  without  interruption.  But  on  the  separation  from 
their  mother  country,  there  being  no  method  of  procuring 
ordination,  the  power  of  the  organization  to  perpetuate  itself 

Church  of 


Church,  78 




The  Baptists 

The  Presby¬ 



ceased.  In  addition  to  this  drawback  the  association  of  the 
church  with  the  English  hierarchy  and  its  theoretical  connec¬ 
tion  with  the  British  government  were  distinct  influences 
adverse  to  its  being  regarded  with  favor  by  the  struggling 
patriots.  Its  members  were  as  sheep  in  a  wilderness  without 
a  shepherd.  The  three  orders  of  ministers  were  essential 
to  its  existence,  and  there  was  no  bishop  in  America.  Natur¬ 
ally  it  was  engulfed  in  stagnant  waters,  and  years  elapsed 
before  it  revived.  In  1783  in  Maryland,  it  assumed  the  name 
of  ‘‘The  Protestant  Episcopal  Church  in  Maryland,”  and 
that  name  was  adopted  by  a  General  Convention  held  three 
years  later.  About  the  same  time  the  consecration  of  bishops 
was  secured ;  and  that  deficiency  was  supplied.  But  so  weak 
were  its  adherents  in  North  Carolina  that  year  after  year 
passed  without  any  effort  at  organization,  and  when  efforts 
were  made,  about  1790,  they  failed  of  success. 

Nor  were  the  other  denominations,  in  the  eastern  counties, 
in  a  much  more  vigorous  condition.  Although  there  were  a 
few  Presbyterian  congregations  on  the  waters  of  the  Cape 
Fear,  in  1783  there  seems  to  have  been  no  minister  of  that 
faith  east  of  Granville.  The  Baptists,  however,  were  better 
settled,  and  there  were  Baptist  ministers,  especially  in  the 
northern  counties,  each  congregation  being  separate  and  in¬ 
dependent.  Farther  west  the  Baptists  were  still  more 
flourishing ;  and  there  also  the  Presbyterians  were  well  estab¬ 
lished,  having  at  the  end  of  the  Revolution  about  a  dozen 
pastors  actively  at  work — men  of  high  repute,  and  teachers  as 
well  as  preachers  to  their  flocks.  In  1770  Orange  Presbytery 
had  been  organized,  and  in  1788  the  Synod  of  the  Carolinas 
was  formed.  It  was  in  that  year  that  Rev.  Mr.  Patillo,  who 
was  located  in  Granville,  published  at  Wilmington,  his 
volumes  of  sermons.  He  also  published  an  interesting  vol¬ 
ume  on  geography,  printed  in  1790,  at  Halifax,  by  Hodge. 

The  first  Methodist  Societies  organized  in  North  Carolina 
looked  to  Rev.  Mr.  Wesley  as  their  head,  and  recognized  the 
authority  of  the  ministers  of  the  Church  of  England ;  and, 



indeed,  they  were  regarded  as  being  within  the  fold  of  that 
church.  Dr.  Coke  was  of  that  communion,  and  the  first 
Methodist  to  preach  in  the  State,  James  Pilmoor,  after¬ 
wards  became  an  Episcopal  minister  in  New  York.  Like  the 
Church  of  England,  the  Methodists  suffered  some  detriment 
because  of  the  conflict  with  the  mother  county,  whence  had 
emanated  the  influences  that  established  and  controlled  the 
societies;  but  in  1784,  at  a  Conference  held  at  Baltimore,  a 
new,  distinct  and  separate  organization  was  adopted.  Yet 
notwithstanding  the  Methodists  thus  severed  connection  with 
the  Protestant  Episcopal  Church,  Christian  fellowship  was 
still  maintained. 

In  1780  Francis  Asbury  had  traveled  through  the  northern 
central  counties,  visiting  the  societies  that  had  been  estab¬ 
lished,  and  the  year  after  the  new  organization  he  and  Dr. 
Coke  held  at  Green  Hill’s  house,  Franklin  County,  the  first 
Conference.  But  despite  the  zeal  and  activity  of  the  minis¬ 
ters,  the  growth  of  the  Methodists,  like  that  of  the  other  de¬ 
nominations,  was  slow  in  the  State.  The  people  in  many  com¬ 
munities  of  the  center  and  east  had  lived  so  long  without 
regular  ministrations  that  they  had  become  somewhat  in¬ 
different  to  the  formalisms  and  doctrines  of  church  organi¬ 
zations.  The  Quakers  and  Moravians,  being  men  of  peace, 
had  not  suffered  much  during  the  war,  but  rather  had  reaped 
the  reward  of  their  steady  habits  and  productive  industry. 
The  German  Lutherans,  whose  church  services  were  still 
in  German,  however,  felt  the  effects  of  the  war,  like  their 
neighbors,  the  Scotch-Irish. 

Unhappily,  conditions  in  general  were  promotive  of  illit¬ 
eracy,  for  educational  facilities  were  meager  and  insufficient. 
The  proposition  to  establish  a  public  school  in  every  county, 
made  during  Governor  Dobbs’s  administration,  had  come  to 
naught  because  some  English  merchants  objected  to  the  issue 
of  currency  proposed  for  that  purpose ;  and  Governor  Dobbs 
having  omitted  to  inform  the  Assembly  of  the  particular 
objection,  the  obstacle  was  never  removed. 





Letters,  31 

The  subject  thus  passed  out  of  view  and  no  further  effort 
was  made  for  general  education  at  public  expense.  There 
were  some  private  schools,  but  they  were  inadequate  for  the 
general  education  of  the  people.  Yet  the  condition  was  not 
so  bad  but  that  it  could  be  worse ;  and  apparently  it  became 
worse.  In  1826  Governor  Burton  urged  on  the  Assembly : 
“Many  enlightened  persons  believe  that  it  is  more  difficult 
for  an  individual  in  ordinary  circumstances  to  obtain  for  his 
child,  at  this  time,  the  common  rudiments  of  education  than 
it  was  at  the  period  when  our  Constitution  was  adopted.” 

Although  there  was  a  constitutional  provision  requiring 
the  establishment  of  public  schools,  and  also  of  a  university, 
yet  the  provision  was  long  inoperative.  No  general  system 
of  public  instruction  had  been  introduced  anywhere  except 
alone  in  Massachusetts ;  and  circumstances  were  adverse  to 
its  inauguration  in  North  Carolina.  Education  by  the  State 
has  been  a  development  of  a  more  recent  period.  It  was  not 
then  demanded  by  the  spirit  of  the  times.  The  scarcity  of 
money  made  it  difficult  to  pay  taxes,  and  there  was  a  general 
reluctance  to  pay  public  dues ;  but  more  than  all,  the  isolated 
lives  of  the  separate  farmers,  residing  in  sparsely  settled 
neighborhoods,  led  them  to  be  indifferent  to  education.  In¬ 
deed,  as  Dickson  expressed  it,  “the  genius  of  the  people  was 
not  adapted  to  the  study  of  learning  and  science.  The  objects 
they  had  in  view  were  money  and  pleasure.” 

There  were  no  magazines,  no  newspapers,  or  story  books 
to  stir  the  mind,  to  nourish  the  imagination,  to  exercise  the 
mental  faculties.  Acquaintance  with  the  art  of  reading  and 
writing  but  little  enlarged  the  horizon  of  life  or  added  to  the 
zest  of  living.  In  that  primitive  condition  of  existence,  such 
education  as  could  be  obtained  was  of  slight  service  in  the 
daily  routine  of  farm  work,  and  was  not  felt  to  be  indis¬ 
pensable,  either  for  its  usefulness  or  as  contributing  to 
recreation  in  the  family  circle.  The  labors  of  the  day  were 
not  supplemented  by  intellectual  pleasures.  A  considerable 
number  of  the  poorer  settlers  probably  had  been  without  the 



rudiments  of  an  education,  and  illiteracy  was  on  the  increase 
among  that  portion  of  the  inhabitants.  An  essayist,  writing 
of  Caswell  County,  says:  “Between  1775  and  1800  a  com¬ 
mon  English  education — to  read,  write  and  cypher,  was  ob¬ 
tained  by  only  one-half  of  the  people  of  that  county.”  Else¬ 
where  it  was  largely  the  same.  The  absence  of  public  schools 
bore  heavily  on  the  social  condition  of  the  interior.  Yet 
there  were  individual  efforts  to  maintain  primary  schools  and 
even  academies.  At  every  session  of  the  Assembly  some  new 
academy  was  incorporated,  and  trustees  appointed  to  manage 
its  affairs ;  but  necessarily  the  influence  of  these  was  limited 
largely  to  the  vicinity  of  the  villages  where  they  were  situ¬ 
ated  and  to  those  more  prosperous  families  that  had  always 
enjoyed  the  advantages  of  education,  for  in  every  county  and 
settlement  there  were  then  as  now,  some  families  of  education 
who  knew  its  value  and  fully  appreciated  its  beneficial  in¬ 
fluences,  and  no  sacrifice  was  accounted  too  great  to  obtain 
it  for  the  children. 

In  that  period  of  isolation  when  there  was  so  little  room 
for  intellectual  effort,  the  art  of  letter  writing  was  practiced 
by  few,  and,  other  than  the  public  records,  the  memorials 
of  the  time  are  scant  and  meager.  Nor  has  the  small  stock 
of  what  survived  the  uses  of  the  day  been  carefully  guarded. 
Williamson,  Martin,  Murphey,  Hooper,  and  others  sought,  in 
succeeding  generations,  to  gather  up  the  scattered  fragments 
for  historical  purposes,  but  their  collections  have  all  disap¬ 
peared.  McRee  later  performed  a  grateful  service  in  pub¬ 
lishing  the  correspondence  of  Iredell,  and,  if  we  may  judge 
from  the  elegant  diction  and  refined  sentiments  of  that  cor¬ 
respondence,  even  in  the  darkest  hours  there  were  circles 
here  and  there  throughout  the  State,  of  a  high  order  of 
social  culture  and  literary  merit. 

Nor  were  there  lacking  the  beneficial  influences  attending 
the  order  of  the  Masonic  fraternity,  which,  established  early 
in  colonial  life,  was  revived  after  the  war.  On  the  death,  in 
1776,  of  Grand  Master  Joseph  Montfort,  who  held  under 

Coon,  1-64 


The  Masons 



Haywood  : 
of  Freema¬ 
sonry  in 
N.  C.,  14 

The  Cin¬ 

S.  R„ 

XVIV,  793 

Davis:  N.  C. 
Society  of 

A  ruling 

authority  of  a  British  commission,  the  Grand  Lodge  ceased 
for  twenty  years;  but  in  1787  representatives  from  ten 
lodges  met  at  Tarboro,  and,  setting  up  an  independent 
authority,  elected  Samuel  Johnston  Grand  Master.  Caswell, 
Davie  and  many  of  the  other  leading  men  of  the  day  were 
members.  Since  then  the  order  has  always  been  a  factor  in 
the  life  of  the  people. 

The  general  tone  of  society  was  more  democratic  and  less 
aristocratic  than  either  in  Virginia  or  in  South  Carolina. 
But  the  form  of  government,  a  representative  republic,  was 
somewhat  calculated  to  foster  a  class  distinction.  The  ab¬ 
sence  of  great  fortunes  tended  to  suppress  social  pretensions 
based  on  wealth  and  not  founded  on  personal  worth,  public 
service  and  popular  applause;  and  there  was  a  jealousy  of 
other  distinction.  An  indication  of  the  prevailing  sentiment 
may  be  gathered  from  the  speedy  dissolution  of  the  patriotic 
order  of  the  Cincinnati.  This  order  was  organized  in  the 
State  by  the  Continental  officers  at  Hillsborough  in  October, 
1783,  General  Jethro  Sumner  being  chosen  President.  In 
the  Assembly,  a  year  later,  a  petition  was  presented  against 
the  order  by  General  John  Butler,  who  introduced  a  bill 
to  render  any  member  of  it  ineligible  to  a  seat  in  the  Assem¬ 
bly.  His  measure  did  not  pass,  but  the  opposition  to  the  so¬ 
ciety  was  so  strong  as  to  control  the  action  of  the  former 
Continental  officers,  to  whom  it  was  imputed  that  they  de¬ 
signed  to  establish  themselves  as  a  peerage.  On  the  death 
of  General  Sumner  he  was  succeeded  by  Colonel  John  B. 
Ashe ;  but  after  a  few  years  the  society  informally  dissolved. 
Notwithstanding  this  democratic  tendency,  the  Assemblymen 
virtually  formed  a  class  of  rulers.  They  were  generally  men 
of  substance  in  their  counties,  who  drew  around  themselves 
such  strong  influences  that  they  were  almost  continuously 
reelected  to  their  seats.  They  elected  all  the  great  officers, 
and  determined  the  policy  of  the  State.  Doubtless  they  were 
not  inattentive  to  public  opinion,  which,  however,  they  exer¬ 
cised  a  great  power  in  forming;  and  although  advocates  of 



a  democracy,  they  were  measurably  the  ruling  class  in  the 
State.  It  is  much  to  their  credit  that  legislation  was  sound, 
liberal  and  judicious,  and  the  Assembly  always  responded 
to  suggestions  tending  to  the  general  welfare.  In  addition, 
it  may  be  said  that  the  Assembly  generally  recognized  merit, 
and  there  was  a  liberality  of  sentiment  illustrated  in  the  elec¬ 
tion  to  high  office  of  men  but  recently  settled  in  the  State  and 
unsupported  by  great  family  influence. 

The  need  of  a  printing  press  was  keenly  felt,  and  in  the 
summer  of  1783  Robert  Keith  set  up  one  at  New  Bern,  and 
in  August  he  issued  the  first  number  of  the  North  Carolina 
Gazette.  There  had  been  no  newspapers  published  in  the 
State  in  several  years  and  the  advent  of  this  was  hailed  with 
interest  and  satisfaction.  The  office  was  “near  the  church 
where  the  subscriptions,  essays  and  articles  of  intelligence 
are  gratefully  received.”  It  was  on  a  demy  sheet,  with  clear 
type,  and  was  offered  for  three  Spanish  milled  dollars  per 
annum.  One  of  the  printer  lads  was  Francis  Xavier  Martin, 
a  French  boy,  who  had  been  stranded  at  New  Bern.  Con¬ 
nected  with  his  printing  office,  Keith  opened  a  book  store 
and  offered  to  the  public  Edwards  on  Original  Sin ,  Baker 
on  the  Divine  Attributes,  a  choice  collection  of  hymns;  and, 
for  the  use  of  schools,  Testaments,  spelling  books,  primers 
and  writing  paper.  Quills  alone  were  used  for  writing.  The 
opening  of  a  print  shop  speedily  led  to  publications.  No 
longer  was  it  necessary  for  the  pamphleteers  to  circulate  their 
manuscripts  by  sending  them  from  town  to  town  by  trusty 
messengers  to  secure  safe  delivery  and  preservation. 

In  the  fall,  Judge  Spencer,  over  the  signature  of  Atticus, 
printed  an  article  on  the  Constitution,  probably  discussing 
the  Loyalist,  and  John  Hay,  as  Tiberius  Gracchus,  put  out 
in  a  six-penny  pamphlet  an  essay  which  in  manuscript  he  had 
read  to  a  coterie  of  admiring  friends,  ridiculing  the  Assem¬ 
bly  and  so  violently  assailing  Judge  Sitgreaves  that  Keith 
had  to  divulge  the  author’s  name,  resulting  in  a  personal  al¬ 
tercation.  Then  Hay  and  the  bench  drifted  apart.  There 

The  press 

Weeks : 
Press  of 
N.  C.,  38 



McRee :  Life 
of  Iredell, 

75,  76,  95 

1 6 


McRee :  Life 
of  Iredell,  96 

Death  of 

McRee:  Life 
of  Iredell,  83 

The  slaves 

Census  1790 

quickly  followed  a  war  in  which  Cusatti,  Sully,  The  Citizen, 
and  The  True  Citizen  bore  their  parts;  also  Germanicus. 
The  Citizen  was  imputed  to  Judge  Williams  and  Richard 
Henderson,  the  polishing  touches  being  given  by  Governor 

But  one  printing  office  did  not  suffice,  and  in  March,  1784, 
another  weekly  was  begun  at  Halifax;  and  perhaps  one  also 
at  Hillsboro ;  and  so  disputants  had  several  instruments 
of  warfare.  No  one  would  have  entered  with  greater  zest 
and  more  caustic  pen  into  these  literary  controversies  than 
the  brilliant  Irishman,  Dr.  Burke;  but  his  race  was  run.  In 
December,  1784,  that  choice  spirit  passed  away.  His  friend 
Hooper  thus  announced  his  melancholy  fate :  “Dr.  Burke 
died  about  a  fortnight  since  and  fell,  in  some  measure,  a 
sacrifice  to  the  obstinacy  which  marked  his  character  through 
life.  Laboring  under  a  complication  of  disorders,  oppressed 
with  the  most  agonizing  pains,  which  for  months  had  de¬ 
prived  him  of  his  natural  rest;  and  to  sum  up  his  misery,  no 
domestic  prop  to  lean  upon — no  friend  or  companion  at  his 
home  to  soothe  the  anguish  of  his  mind  or  mitigate  the  pain 
of  his  body — was  not  death  to  him  a  comforter,  a  friend 
and  physician?” 

At  the  peace  there  were  about  ninety  thousand  slaves 
in  North  Carolina  and  five  thousand  free  negroes.  The  lo¬ 
cation  of  the  colored  element  of  population  was  an  incident 
of  settlement.  The  western  counties  were  settled  chiefly 
by  immigrants  coming  overland  from  Pennsylvania.  These 
were  accompanied  by  no  negroes;  and  so,  few  Africans,  rel¬ 
atively,  were  to  be  found  at  the  west.  Near  the  northern 
line  as  far  as  Surry,  the  settlement  was  largely  from  Vir¬ 
ginia,  and  the  planters  brought  their  negroes  with  them. 
Along  the  coast,  including  Brunswick  and  New  Hanover, 
negroes  were  comparatively  numerous ;  but  farther  in  the  in¬ 
terior,  where  immigrants  direct  from  Europe  located,  there 
were  not  so  many.  The  free  negroes  were  found  chiefly  in 
the  older  counties,  where  indeed  there  were  more  blacks 


1 7 

than  elsewhere.  In  1790  Halifax  returned  6,506  slaves  and 
446  free  negroes.  Northampton  and  Bertie  together,  9,650 
slaves  and  751  free  negroes.  In  New  Hanover  and  four  ad¬ 
jacent  counties  there  were  10,116  slaves  and  215  free  negroes. 
In  Iredell,  846  slaves  and  3  free  negroes.  In  colonial  times 
free  negroes  paid  taxes  like  the  whites,  but  could  not  vote. 
They  lived  apart  and  were  not  allowed  free  intercourse  with 
the  slaves. 

Slaves  descended  as  other  property.  The  master’s  right  to 
rule  was  complete;  but  while  he  could  punish,  he  could  not 
take  the  life  of  a  slave.  Slaves  could  have  no  right  to  any 
property — but  no  one  could  interfere  with  them  except  the 
owner.  They  were  amenable  to  the  law  for  offenses,  but  the 
masters  often  protected  them  from  punishment  when  charged 
with  minor  offenses ;  when  one  was  executed,  the  owner  was 
allowed  his  value,  but  in  1786  this  practice  was  discontinued. 
They  lived  on  their  master’s  premises ;  and  he  was  required 
to  provide  for  their  necessities ;  to  care  for  them  in  sickness 
and  in  age. 

Slaves  generally  were  not  allowed  to  use  firearms,  but  the 
county  court,  on  application  of  the  owner,  licensed  one  slave 
on  each  plantation  to  carry  a  gun  for  the  purpose  of  protect¬ 
ing  the  property  from  depredations.  The  conduct  of  the 
farm,  the  administration  and  system  of  work  and  of  living, 
was  under  the  regulation  of  the  master.  Some  slaves  were 
taught  to  be  carpenters,  wheelwrights,  blacksmiths,  coopers 
and  shoemakers,  and  the  women  to  spin  and  weave.  Often 
the  farm  raised  its  own  wool  and  cotton,  tanned  its  own 
leather,  had  its  smithy  and  shop  for  wood  work,  and  made 
its  own  shoes  and  clothing.  In  all  this  work,  as  well  as  in  all 
farm  work,  some  negroes  were  trained  and  skilled.  Gen¬ 
erally  .the  farm  or  plantation  was  managed  by  the  master, 
and  in  his  absence  one  of  the  slaves,  as  “foreman,”  super¬ 
vised  the  work  with  orderly  precision. 

There  were  but  few  great  estates  in  North  Carolina.  In 
1790,  the  largest  slaveowner,  Cullen  Pollok,  listed  on  four 

Conv.  1835, 
p.  65 

Their  work 





The  negroes 
and  religion 

plantations  372;  Whitewell  Hall,  270;  Benjamin  Luther,  221'; 
Robert  Haynes  and  Thomas  Eaton  in  Warren,  each  138. 
The  next  largest  was  Willie  Jones,  with  120;  then  Mr.  Col¬ 
lins,  1 13;  Peter  Mallet,  103;  and  Governor  Samuel  John¬ 
ston  owned  96.  Only  twelve  persons  listed  100.  Hardly  two 
hundred  persons  had  as  many  as  50.  Largely  more  than  half 
the  people  owned  none  at  all,  while  hundreds  possessed  only 
one  or  two.  On  the  larger  plantations  the  negro  families 
had  their  separate  houses,  with  small  gardens  attached, 
some  distance  from  the  mansion;  and  had  such  pleasures 
and  recreations  as  their  masters  chose  to  allow.  When 
the  number  of  slaves  was  small  they  lived  near  the  mansion, 
and  were  brought  into  very  close  association  with  the  white 
family;  and,  in  effect,  all  constituted  a  family.  The  men 
were  “men  of  all  work,”  and  the  women  and  children  were 
employed  about  the  domicile.  This  association  had  an  educa¬ 
tional  advantage  and  tended  distinctly  to  the  elevation  of 
the  negro.  Whatever  there  was  of  beneficence  in  the  in¬ 
stitution  of  African  slavery  thus  had,  perhaps^  its  best  de¬ 
velopment  in  North  Carolina,  where  the  country  negroes 
seem  to  have  attained  a  somewhat  more  advanced  condition 
than  elsewhere. 

Generally,  slaves  had  such  opportunities  for  religious  in¬ 
struction  as  the  condition  of  the  country  afforded.  Writing 
in  1788,  Rev.  Mr.  Patillo  remarked  that  they  composed  a 
part  of  most  congregations,  and  in  those  under  his  charge 
there  were  150  negro  communicants.  Very  ignorant,  they 
were  at  first  taken  on  trial  before  admitted  to  baptism  or 
the  communion.  “In  the  meantime  the  black  members 
are  very  diligent  with  them,  instructing  them,  and  narrowly 
inspecting  their  conduct.”  Most  masters  indulged  their 
slaves  in  liberty  of  conscience,  whether  religious  or  other¬ 
wise,  while  “pious  masters  have  great  disquiet  and  vexation 
from  the  untractable  and  incorrigible  temper  of  their  slaves.” 
“Of  the  religious  negroes  in  my  congregation  some  are  en¬ 
trusted  with  a  kind  of  eldership,  so  far  as  to  keep  a  watch- 



ful  eye  over  the  black  members.  .  .  .  The  great  matter  of 
scandal  among  the  negroes  arises  from  their  marriages  or 
matches.  Masters  are  so  often  selling  their  slaves,  or  re¬ 
moving  to  a  distance,  that  as  the  creatures  generally  belong 
to  different  masters,  they  are  often  parted,  or  their  places 
of  residence  become  so  distant  that  they  can  seldom  see 
each  other.  Many  masters,  however,  will  rather  exchange 
or  sell,  than  part  husband  and  wife.”  A  few  can  read  a 
plain  book,  and  many  more  would  learn  on  Lord’s  Day  and 
sleeping  time  if  they  had  spelling  books,  catechisms,  Testa¬ 
ments  and  Watts’s  hymns,  as  they  are  peculiarly  fond  of 
singing.”  At  that  period  there  was  no  legal  inhibition 
against  teaching  slaves  to  read  and  write. 

Property  right  in  the  person  of  the  African  slave  was  the 
law  of  the  New  World  at  the  time  North  Carolina  was  set¬ 
tled.  It  was  a  part  of  the  institutions  of  every  community. 
Incident  to  it  was  the  slave  trade,  a  commerce  that  came 
to  be  reprobated  in  America  earlier  than  elsewhere.  In 
every  colony,  from  the  earliest  times,  there  were  some  in¬ 
dividuals  who  were  opposed  both  to  slavery  and  the  slave 
trade.  In  August,  1774,  the  freeholders  of  Rowan  County 
resolved  that:  “The  African  slave  trade  is  injurious  to 
this  colony,  obstructs  the  population  of  it  by  freemen,  pre¬ 
vents  manufacturers  and  other  useful  immigrants  from 
Europe  from  settling  among  us,  and  occasions  an  annual  in¬ 
crease  in  the  balance  of  trade  against  the  colony.”  •  This 
declaration  was  followed  a  few  days  later  by  a  resolution  of 
the  first  Provincial  Convention,  that  “we  will  not  import  01- 
purchase  any  slave  brought  into  this  province  from  any  part 
of  the  world  after  the  first  day  of  November  next.”  This 
resolve  was  observed  by  the  people  and  enforced  by  the 
Committee  of  Safety.  The  next  year  Jefferson’s  declaration 
“that  all  men  are  created  equal — ”  received  universal  as¬ 
sent,  but  that  evidently  had  reference  to  the  right  to  modify 
governments,  and  had  no  bearing  on  the  status  of  the  Afri¬ 
can  slaves  in  the  colonies.  Yet  the  thought  was  expressed 

Attitude  to 

C.  R„  IV, 



C.  R.,  XXIV, 

Ibid.,  221, 

Free  negro 

C.  R.,  XXIV, 

Conv.  1835, 
p.  65 



and  disseminated.  Owners  had  the  right  of  manumission, 
and  apparently  manumissions  were  multiplied,  while  the 
inconveniences  of  slavery  became  more  pronounced  when  the 
struggle  for  independence  began  and  the  British  sought  to 
incite  both  the  Indians  and  negroes  to  become  their  allies. 
At  the  very  first  session  of  the  Assembly  under  the  new  Con¬ 
stitution,  “because  of  the  evil  and  pernicious  practice  of 
freeing  slaves,  at  this  alarming  and  critical  time,  the  personal 
right  to  manumit  was  taken  away,  a  license  from  the  County 
Court  being  made  requisite,  and  the  court  was  forbidden  to 
grant  the  license  except  for  ‘meritorious  services.’  ” 

Notwithstanding  the  racial  difference,  the  negroes  were  a 
part  of  the  population,  and  could  render  service — both  bond 
and  free.  During  the  war  the  latter  were  enrolled  in  the 
militia,  and  performed  military  service  as  other  freemen. 
Slaves,  like  Indians,  Hessian  deserters  and  some  others,  were 
not  to  be  accepted  as  substitutes  for  drafted  men ;  but,  with 
their  master’s  consent,  they  could  enlist ;  and  some  did  enlist 
and  rendered  faithful  service  as  soldiers  in  the  Continental 
ranks  as  well  as  in  the  State  troops.  One  slave,  Ned  Griffin, 
of  Edgecombe,  having  under  a  promise  of  freedom  served 
faithfully  for  twelve  months  as  a  Continental,  a  special  act 
of  the  Assembly  was  passed  to  enfranchise  him  and  “dis¬ 
charge  him  from  the  yoke  of  slavery,”  and  he  was  declared 
“a  freeman  in  every  respect.”  As  with  him,  so  was  it  with 
others;-  after  the  Revolution  free  negroes  became  freemen  in 
every  respect.  And  thus  it  came  about  that  they  obtained 
the  privilege  of  suffrage,  which  they  enjoyed  until  the  Con¬ 
stitution  was  amended  in  1835.  ,  But  their  legal  status,  as 
well  as  that  of  the  slave,  was  anomalous,  and  the  Congress  of 
the  United  States  at  its  second  session  excluded  them  from 
being  enrolled  in  the  militia.  Negroes  could  not  give  evi¬ 
dence  against  a  white  man,  and  in  some  respects  they  were 
not  regarded  as  citizens.  But  free  negroes  had  property 
rights,  and  generally  speaking  had  all  the  benefits  of  the  law. 
Many  became  men  of  substance,  and  they  sometimes  owned 



slaves.  James  Lowry,  apparently  the  progenitor  of  the  out¬ 
law  Henry  Berry  Lowry,  was  in  1790  the  owner  of  several 
slaves.  Many  other  free  negroes  likewise  were  slaveowners. 
One  who  had  served  in  the  Revolution,  John  Chavis,  not  only 
was  a  slaveholder  but  was  a  school-teacher,  having  among 
his  pupils  some  boys  who  afterwards  became  men  of  renown. 
He  was  also  a  Presbyterian  minister. 

After  commerce  was  reopened  slaves  were  again  im¬ 
ported,  but  in  1786  their  importation  was  declared  productive 
of  evil  consequences  and  highly  impolitic,  and  in  order  to 
arrest  it  a  tax  of  ten  pounds  was  laid  on  the  importation  of 
the  most  able-bodied,  with  a  smaller  duty  on  others.  Some 
of  the  northern  states  had  already  taken  measures  to  abolish 
slavery,  and  their  slaves  were  being  sold  to  southern  planters. 
North  Carolina  did  not  propose  to  allow  this  transfer  to  her 
territory  of  negroes  who  in  their  own  states  had  the  hope  of 
freedom,  and  by  act  of  Assembly  it  was  forbidden  to  bring 
into  North  Carolina  any  slave  from  any  state  that  had  taken 
such  a  step,  and  should  any  be  imported  contrary  to  that 
act,  they  were  to  be  immediately  returned  to  the  place  from 
which  they  were  brought.  While  the  institution  of  negro 
slavery  was  thus  perpetuated  after  the  Revolution,  yet  the 
importation  of  slaves  was  regarded  as  injurious  and  North 
Carolina  was  not  favorable  to  a  continuance  of  the  slave 
trade.  The  influence  of  the  Quaker  element  of  the  popula¬ 
tion  was  distinctly  against  the  institution  of  slavery,  and  per¬ 
haps  the  prevalence  of  such  sentiments  was  a  natural  result 
of  the  war  itself. 

Indeed  the  Revolution  not  only  called  forth  many  virtues 
but  developed  much  latent  ability.  When  the  war  began, 
says  Ramsay,  the  Americans  were  a  mass  of  husbandmen, 
merchants,  mechanics  and  fishermen ;  but  the  necessities  of 
the  country  gave  a  spring  to  the  active  powers  of  the  inhab¬ 
itants,  and  set  them  thinking,  speaking,  and  acting,  in  a 
line  far  beyond  that  to  which  they  had  been  accustomed.  It 
seemed  as  if  the  war  not  only  required,  but  created  talents. 

Census  1790 

S.  R.,  XXIV, 


To  arrest 

S.  R.,  XXIV, 

Effects  of 




Men,  whose  minds  were  warmed  with  the  love  of  liberty,  and 
whose  abilities  were  improved  by  daily  exercise,  and  sharp¬ 
ened  with  a  laudable  ambition  to  serve  their  distressed  coun¬ 
try,  spoke,  wrote  and  acted  with  an  energy  far  surpassing 
all  expectation  which  could  be  reasonably  founded  on  their 
previous  acquirements. 

The  long  years  of  the  struggle  had  been  a  period  of 
great  intellectual  activity,  and  the  creation  and  adminis¬ 
tration  of  government  had  thoroughly  awakened  the  people 
and  vitalized  their  energies.  Great  writers  were  produced, 
great  thoughts  had  penetrated  the  minds  of  the  masses, 
and  heart  and  soul,  body  and  mind,  alike,  had  been  on  the 
rack,  and  tens  of  thousands  of  men,  bred  in  solitude,  had 
moved  over  the  face  of  the  country,  every  faculty  quickened 
and  stimulated  and  every  passion  brought  often  into  play. 
Thus,  as  in  all  long  and  arduous  contests,  the  people  emerged 
from  the  war,  uplifted  by  the  struggle,  developed  in  all  their 
faculties,  broader  in  thought,  stronger  in  action,  more  re¬ 
sourceful,  and  with  higher  powers  and  nobler  aims  than  be¬ 
fore  they  had  suffered  the  fearful  experience ;  and,  besides, 
they  were  inspired  with  a  great  hope,  a  great  confidence  in 
the  future  of  their  country. 



Alexander  Martin's  Administration 

Attitude  towards  the  Tories. — Dissatisfaction  with  the  Treaty. — 
The  perilous  condition  of  the  Union. — Action  at  Edenton. — The 
settlement  on  the  Cumberland  and  growth  of  the  Watauga  coun¬ 
ties. — Land  granted  to  the  soldiers;  to  Henderson. — The  Assembly 
of  April  1784. — Martin’s  progressive  address. — Reelected. — Entails 
abolished. — Advanced  legislation. — Lands  of  Tories  held  forfeited. 
— Fayetteville  incorporated. — Rivers  to  be  made  navigable. — 
Clubfoot  and  Harlow  canal. — Special  Commerce  Courts.' — The 
Treaty  not  observed. — The  offer  to  Congress  of  the  Western  Ter¬ 
ritory. — Conditions  beyond  the  mountains. — The  people  assert  in¬ 
dependence. — The  Assembly  meets  in  October. — A  census  ordered 
to  be  taken. — Caswell  elected  Governor. — Liberty  Hall  moved  to 
Salisbury. — Science  Hall. — Oath  of  allegiance  modified. — Quakers 
allowed  to  wear  hats  in  court. — The  three-fifths  rule. — Duties  laid 
for  Congress. — Indignation  at  greed  of  other  states. — The  offer 
to  'Congress  withdrawn. — The  District  of  Washington. — Sevier 
elected  General. — The  people  of  Franklin  disregard  the  repeal. — 
They  adopt  a  Constitution. — Sevier  Governor,  and  Caswell  County 
erected. — The  currency  of  the  new  State. — Martin’s  admonitions 
disregarded. — Franklin  seeks  admission  into  the  Confederacy. — 
Efforts  to  control  the  people  in  vain. — Martin  calls  the  Assembly 
to  meet. — Congress  urges  North  Carolina  to  annul  her  repealing 
act. — Caswell  Governor. — The  Assembly  without  a  quorum. 

Although  the  year  1783  brought  peace  it  was  not  un¬ 
marked  by  agitations.  The  doubts,  the  dangers,  the  vi¬ 
cissitudes  of  the  war  were  passed ;  a  new  standpoint  was 
gained ;  but  new  questions  arose  to  engage  the  attention 
of  men,  enlisting  their  sympathies,  awakening  their  appre¬ 
hensions  and  arousing  their  passions.  In  the  final  draft 
of  the  Treaty  of  Peace  Great  Britain  had  sought  to  conserve 
the  interests  of  the  Loyalists  who,  as  dutiful  subjects,  had 
made  great  sacrifices  in  behalf  of  their  Sovereign  and  had 
staunchly  and  vigorously  maintained  the  Royal  cause.  She 
secured  a  stipulation  that  debts  to  British  creditors  were  to 
be  paid  in  full ;  that  there  were  to  be  no  further  confiscations 
or  prosecutions ;  and  that  Congress  was  to  earnestly  recom- 




The  feeling 
against  the 

mend  restitution  of  all  rights  and  property.  When  this 
provision  of  the  Treaty,  at  first  withheld  by  Congress,  was 
eventually  made  public  the  country  was  at  once  aflame.  In 
every  state  there  were  the  same  vigorous  protests.  The 
Patriots  would  grant  no  favor  to  the  Tories.  It  was  im¬ 
puted  to  these  enemies  of  their  country  that  they  had 
cheered  the  British  when  despondent,  and,  by  their  zealous 
partisanship,  had  greatly  prolonged  the  hopeless  struggle 
for  British  supremacy ;  that  they  had  given  to  the  contest 
its  particular  cast  of  brutality  and  had  been  the  chief  actors 
in  the  butcheries  that  marked  its  progress ;  that  they  had 
applied  the  torch  to  their  neighbors’  houses  with  relentless 
barbarity,  and  had  wantonly  destroyed  property  while  mur¬ 
dering  the  unfortunate  victims  of  their  vengeance.  Some 
prudent  men  realized  that  better  temper  should  prevail, 
and  urged  that  the  Treaty  under  which  independence  was 
secured  should  be  sacredly  observed  in  every  part.  But 
these  were  few  in  number,  and  their  arguments  served  to 
intensify  rather  than  assuage  the  prevailing  bitterness. 

The  revolt  of  the  soldiers 

A  question  not  arousing  equal  passion  but  of  yet  more 
vital  importance  related  to  the  Union  that  had  successfully 
carried  the  colonies  through  the  long  war  to  independence. 
The  Confederacy  was  burdened  by  a  crushing  debt,  and 
was  bankrupt.  Its  currency  was  without  value ;  the  public 
creditors  were  unpaid  and  there  was  no  power  to  impose  a 
tax.  Worse  than  all,  no  provision  could  be  made  to  settle 
with  the  soldiers  who  had  won  independence  and  were  now 
in  their  camps  clamoring  for  their  arrearages.  To  meet 
this  exigency  Congress  directed  that  Washington’s  veterans, 
although  unpaid,  should  return  to  their  homes  on  furlough. 
As  the  army  was  being  thus  disbanded  a  hundred  mal¬ 
contents  of  the  Pennsylvania  line  marched  from  Lancaster 
to  Philadelphia  to  demand  of  the  Pennsylvania  Council 



payment  of  their  dues.  Joined  by  others  until  they  became 
a  formidable  mob,  they  surrounded  the  building  in  which 
not  only  the  Council  but  the  Continental  Congress  was  in 
session,  and  encircled  it  with  a  cordon  of  bayonets.  An¬ 
archy  was  about  to  supplant  all  authority.  Eventually  the 
members  of  the  Congress  succeeded  in  escaping;  and  they, 
with  indignation,  resolved  h>  leave  Philadelphia  and  meet  at 
Princeton.  Washington,  always  prompt,  hurried  General 
Robert  Howe  to  the  scene  with  a  sufficient  force  to  quell 
the  mutineers.  The  boldness  of  the  mob  and  the  indignity 
to  Congress  alarmed  the  friends  of  established  government 
who  saw  rising  above  the  horizon  a  portentous  cloud  that 
threatened  the  destruction  of  all  law  and  order.  Gloomy 
apprehensions  and  painful  forebodings  thus  followed  fast 
the  general  rejoicings.  The  financial  straits  into  which  the 
government  had  fallen  were  assuredly  deplorable  and  ap¬ 
parently  without  remedy.  Unanimity  was  requisite  for  ac¬ 
tion  and  the  negative  of  a  single  state  could  defeat  any 
measure ;  and  as  the  power  to  levy  taxes  was  not  conferred 
on  Congress  it  could  only  apportion  the  amount  needed 
among  the  states  and  leave  it  to  them  to  raise  their  quotas 
by  taxation. 

The  Articles  of  Confederation 

North  Carolina  was  not  indifferent  to  these  radical  de¬ 
fects  in  the  Articles  of  Confederation.  In  the  darkest  hour 
of  her  own  distress,  July,  1781,  she  had  with  her  accustomed 
zeal  assented  to  the  levying  of  a  five  per  cent  duty  for  the 
use  of  the  United  States ;  but  other  states  withheld  their 
sanction  and  the  measure  had  not  become  operative.  The 
varying  interests  of  the  different  states  raised  obstacles 
that  rendered  all  efforts  for  unity  abortive.  The  common 
debts  remained  unsettled  and  unsecured.  The  pledges  of 
the  states  were  unredeemed,  and  the  Confederation  was 
about  to  vanish  in  ruin  and  disgrace.  No  state  was  more 

The  straits 
of  the 








McRee : 
Life  of 
II,  89 


alive  to  the  situation  than  North  Carolina;  nor  were  any 
delegates  more  zealous  than  hers.  In  February,  1783,  Wil¬ 
liamson  wrote  from  Congress  to  Iredell:  “For  more  than 
three  weeks  we  have  been  constantly  engaged  in  fixing  a 
scale  for  settling  the  quotas  of  the  different  states.  To¬ 
day  we  have  agreed  on  one  resolution  which  the  Southern 
States  have  carried  with  great  difficulty.  I  believe  we 
failed  in  twenty  different  plans  before  we  fixed  on  one. 
The  framers  of  our  Confederation,  with  reverence  be  it  said, 
were  not  infallible.  Congress  has  reserved  the  power  of 
making  treaties ;  these  treaties  include  the  relations  of  com¬ 
merce  ;  we  borrow  money  and  have  not  the  means  of  paying 
sixpence.  There  is  no  measure,  however  wise  or  necessary, 
that  may  not  be  defeated  by  a  single  state,  however  small 
or  wrong  headed.  The  cloud  of  public  creditors,  including 
the  army,  is  gathering  about  us ;  the  prospect  thickens.” 
The  picture  was  gloomy  indeed. 

The  Tories 

During  that  summer,  hostilities  being  over,  a  number  of 
Tories,  who  had  formerly  abandoned  their  homes,  returned 
to  the  State.  Several  came  to  Wilmington,  but  the  popular 
ill  will  ran  so  high  against  them  that  they  quickly  withdrew. 
Their  enforced  departure  irritated  those  inhabitants  who 
had  social  and  friendly  relations  with  them  and  led  par¬ 
ticularly  to  the  estrangement  of  Archibald  Maclaine,  who 
had  been  a  strong  patriot,  from  many  with  whom  he  had 
previously  cooperated.  As  time  passed  his  sympathies  and 
interests  became  more  and  more  involved  with  the  Loyal¬ 
ists,  and  he  grew  in  bitterness  towards  those  whose  faces 
were  hard  set  against  them.  At  Edenton,  ever  the  seat  of 
vigorous  zeal  guided  by  high  intelligence,  these  public  mat¬ 
ters  agitated  the  people  profoundly.  On  the  first  day  of 
August  a  meeting  of  the  citizens  was  held,  presided  over 



by  Samuel  Johnston,  at  which  resolutions  were  adopted 
urging  the  maintenance  of  order,  the  support  of  govern-  gam 
ment,  the  payment  of  the  public  debt  and  justice  to  the  Johllston 
soldiers.  In  particular  was  the  necessity  of  continued  union 
urged,  and  an  enlargement  of  the  powers  of  the  Union. 

It  was  also  resolved,  “That  we  wish,  as  far  as  it  is  con¬ 
sistent  with  the  Treaty  of  Peace,  proper  measures  may  be 
taken  to  guard  the  evils  that  might  arise  from  a  return 
of  those  persons  who  withdrew  themselves  from  a  defense 
of  the  country  and  joined  the  British  in  time  of  our  dis¬ 
tress”  ;  and  the  “gasconading  encouragements  they  held 
forth  to  induce  a  continuance  of  the  war”  were  dwelt  upon 
in  vigorous  language.  Especially  it  was  recommended  to 
the  magistrates  to  be  vigilant  against  those  persons  who 
might  attempt  to  return  in  violation  of  the  laws. 

These  resolves,  appealing  alike  to  prejudice  and  patriot¬ 
ism,  doubtless  were  proposed  as  embodying  the  purpose  of 
those  who  favored  them  as  of  the  first  importance,  strength¬ 
ening  the  Federal  Union.  But  there  were  other  subjects, 
also,  tending  to  division. 

The  western  settlements 

The  region  beyond  the  mountains  had  become  of  im¬ 
portance.  Settlers  guided  by  John  Sevier  had  moved  from 
the  Watauga  to  Nolichucky,  and  the  Indians  ceded  all  the 
territory  north  of  the  French  Broad  to  the  whites,  reserving 
as  their  hunting  grounds  the  region  south  of  that  river. 

Farther  in  the  interior  of  Kentucky  had  received  many  ac¬ 
cessions,  and  the  call  of  the  West  appealed  to  bold,  adven¬ 
turous  spirits.  In  1779  James  Robertson  penetrated  far 
into  the  wilderness  and  established  a  camp  at  a  salt-lick 
on  the  Cumberland,  separated  by  impassable  mountains 
from  the  Watauga  settlements.  Once  occupied  by  the 
French  traders  as  a  station,  it  was  commonly  known  as 
“French  Lick.”  The  following  year  others  passed  in  boats 




Grants  to 
the  soldiers 



down  the  Tennessee  to  the  Ohio,  and  then  ascended  the 
Cumberland  to  Robertson’s  cabins.  Although  much  har¬ 
assed  by  Indians  they  held  their  ground  and  so  increased 
in  numbers  that  in  1783  the  North  Carolina  Assembly  in¬ 
corporated  that  region  into  a  county,  calling  it  Davidson, 
and  naming  the  central  settlement  Nashville.  At  the  same 
session  the  State  made  some  provision  for  her  soldiers 
now  returning  to  their  homes,  wearing  the  laurel  leaf  of  vic¬ 
tory.  There  was  set  aside,  as  a  bounty  for  the  veterans  of 
the  war,  an  extensive  domain  from  the  point  where  the 
Cumberland  River  crossed  the  Virginia  line,  south  fifty-five 
miles,  then  westward  to  the  Tennessee;  and  Martin  Arm¬ 
strong  was  appointed  the  surveyor  to  locate  their  grants, 
while  a  board  of  commissioners  adjusted  their  accounts  to 
be  paid  by  the  Treasurer. 

On  the  east  of  the  Cumberland  Mountains,  in  the  valley 
of  Powell  River,  in  extinguishment  of  their  claims  for 
land  purchased  from  the  Indians,  more  than  two  hundred 
thousands  acres  were  allotted  to  Richard  Henderson  and 
his  associates,  the  Indians  remaining  in  possession  from 
the  French  Broad  to  Chickamauga.  And  now  the  soldiers 
crossed  the  mountains  to  take  possession  of  their  bounty 
lands,  and  population  flowed  in  with  a  rush  to  occupy 
the  fertile  tracts  along  the  Powell  and  the  Clinch,  while 
others  passed  on  to  the  distant  Cumberland. 

The  Assembly  meets — Martin’s  great  address 

The  Assembly  elected  in  the  spring  of  1784  met  at  Hills¬ 
boro  in  April  and,  having  much  business  of  importance  to 
transact,  the  session  was  prolonged  beyond  any  other  since 
the  Revolution.  'It  was  remarkable  for  its  ability,  and  its 
work  indicates  breadth  and  patriotism,,  a  just  conception 
of  the  needs  of  the  day  and  zeal  in  perfecting  legislation. 
Perhaps  because  of  the  great  matters  to  be  determined  both 
Willie  Jones  and  Sam  Johnston,  neither  of  whom  was  often 


29  • 

in  the  Assembly,  were  members  of  the  Senate.  The  over¬ 
shadowing  questions  were  those  relating  to  the  Union,  and 
to  the  future  prosperity  of  the  State,  and  these  were  for¬ 
cibly  dwelt  on  by  Governor  Martin  in  his  address.  The 
cause  of  the  Union  he  urged  with  power  and  without  re¬ 
serve,  insisting  on  “the  great  wisdom  displayed  in  connect¬ 
ing  the  states  under  one  common  sovereignty  in  Congress.” 
“I  need  not  mention,”  said  he,  “in  conclusion,  that  you  are 
building  for  posterity.  For  centuries  to  come  the  infant 
annals  of  our  time  will  be  traced  with  eagerness  by  inquisi¬ 
tive  posterity  for  precedents,  for  maxims  to  which  the  future 
government  may  still  conform.  Now  is  the  important  mo¬ 
ment  to  establish  on  your  part  the  Continental  Power  on  its 
firmest  basis,  by  which  the  people  of  these  states  rose  and 
are  to  be  continued  a  nation.”  But  as  anxious  as  he  was  to 
maintain  the  Union,  he  was  no  less  pronounced  in  advocating 
progress  in  State  affairs.  A  resident  of  the  western  part  of 
the  State  and  familiar  with  the  disadvantages  under  which 
the  inhabitants  of  the  interior  labored,  he  pressed  on  the 
Legislature  administrative  policies  intended  to  promote  the 
general  welfare.  The  practice  of  issuing  State  bonds  had  not 
then  been  introduced,  and  in  a  general  way  it  may  be  said 
there  was  no  State  credit.  State  aid  could  be  given  only 
through  taxation,  and  the  people  were  not  familiar  with 
the  idea  of  taxing  the  whole  for  the  advantage  of  a  part. 
Local  efforts  alone  were  available  for  the  promotion  of 
enterprises.  In  presenting  these  subjects  to  the  Assembly 
the  Governor  remarked :  “The  trade  and  navigation  of 
this  country  is  of  lasting  consequence,  and  requires  your 
immediate  interposition  and  patronage.  It  is  necessary  our 
rivers  be  rendered  more  navigable,  our  roads  opened  and 
supported,  by  which  the  industrious  planter  may  have  his 
produce  carried  to  market  with  more  ease  and  convenience. 
Thereby  more  merchants  of  opulence  would  be  induced  to 
settle  in  the  State  and  open  new  resources  of  industry 
among  our  inhabitants.”  In  particular,  he  again  urged,  “Let 


S.  R.,  XIX, 








S.  R.,  XXIY, 



me  call  your  attention  to  the  education  of  our  youth.  May 
seminaries  be  revived  and  encouraged,  where  the  under¬ 
standing  may  be  enlightened,  the  heart  mended  and  genius 
cherished :  whence  the  State  may  draw  forth  men  of  ability 
to  direct  her  councils  and  support  her  government.  Religion 
and  virtue  claim  your  particular  care.  To  preserve  the 
morals  of  the  people  is  to  preserve  the  State.”  Such  senti¬ 
ments  met  with  the  approval  of  the  members,  and  Martin 
was  again  chosen  Governor. 

Caswell,  Jones  and  Johnston,  all  sustained  the  Governor 
in  his  measures :  and  at  the  end  of  the  session,  gratified  at 
his  success,  he  wrote  with  enthusiasm  to  the  delegates  in 
Congress :  “You  have  here  seven  acts  passed  this  session. 
They  contain  almost  all  the  substances  of  every  principal 
recommendation  relative  to  finance.  The  request  of  Con¬ 
gress  as  to  the  western  lands,  their  favorite  object,  is  com¬ 
plied  with.  The  Assembly  came  to  no  resolution  as  to  the 
refugees.  Debate  ran  high.  Several  bills  fell  through  re¬ 
specting  them,  and  confiscated  property  remains  unsold 
which  were  laid  over  to  the  next  session.” 

At  that  epochal  period,  when  every  community  in  America 
was  entering  on  new  conditions,  there  was  adopted  a  great 
mass  of  legislation  conforming  our  institutions  to  the  new 
life  of  a  broader  citizenship;  and  it  is  to  be  noted  that  at 
this  time  acts  were  passed  abolishing  entails,  admitting  the 
half-blood  to  inheritances,  allowing  parents  to  inherit  from 
their  children,  allowing  widows  to  dissent  from  the  wills 
of  their  husbands,  providing  easier  means  of  subjecting  real 
estate  to  the  payment  of  debts,  making  courts  of  equity 
more  efficient  and  extirpating  many  vestiges  of  the  feudal 

By  an  act  altering  the  meeting  of  the  Assembly  to  October 
and  the  election  to  August,  it  was  provided  that  at  the  next 
session  a  new  Governor  should  be  chosen  who  should  qual¬ 
ify  in  June,  1785,  at  the  expiration  of  Governor  Martin’s 
term:  and  the  practice  of  having  district  treasurers  was  dis- 



continued  and  Memican  Hunt  was  elected  Treasurer  of  the 
whole  State. 

As  the  five  per  cent  duty  granted  in  1781  to  the  Confed¬ 
eracy  for  an  unlimited  period  had  not  become  effective,  now 
on  the  recommendation  of  Congress  another  act  was  passed 
granting  the  duty  for  the  limited  term  of  twenty-five  years, 
but  with  the  same  condition — that  the  other  states  should 
agree  to  it.  Under  this  act  the  collectors  were  to  be  ap¬ 
pointed  by  the  states,  but  were  to  be  removable  by  Congress. 
Until  the  act  should  become  operative,  by  the  other  states 
adopting  it,  North  Carolina  imposed  a  two  per  cent  duty 
for  herself.  Further,  for  a  period  of  twenty-five  years,  the 
Assembly  granted  to  Congress  a  tax  of  six  pence  on  every 
acre  of  land  in  the  State. 

The  three-fifths  rule 

During  the  war  the  public  burdens  had  been  apportioned 
among  the  states  on  the  basis  of  property.  In  1783  the 
Southern  members,  after  a  long  struggle,  succeeded  in 
changing  the  basis  from  property  to  population.  In  the 
enumeration  of  the  people  for  this  purpose,  all  free  inhabi¬ 
tants,  of  every  age,  sex  and  condition,  were  to  be  counted, 
and  “three-fifths  of  all  other  persons  not  computed  in  the 
above  description/’  Such  was  the  origin  of  the  practice  of 
computing  five  slaves  as  the  equal  of  three  freemen,  for 
purposes  of  taxation;  and  afterwards  for  representation. 
It  is,  however,  observable  that  the  word  slave  was  not  used 
in  this  enactment,  nor  in  the  Federal  Constitution  that  per¬ 
petuated  it.  This  proposition,  vigorously  pressed  by  the 
Southern  delegates,  as  mentioned  by  Dr.  Williamson,  was 
adopted  in  Congress  in  1783  and  agreed  to  by  North  Caro¬ 
lina  in  the  spring  1784,  and,  becoming  operative,  was  con¬ 
tinued  in  the  Constitution  of  1787,  being  known  as  the 
“three-fifths”  rule. 

Although  hampered  for  the  want  of  means,  the  Assembly, 
animated  by  a  spirit  of  progress,  was  not  unmindful  of 

Grants  to 
Congress  of 
and  taxes 

S.  R.,  XXIV, 






S.  R.,  XXIV, 

Ibid.,  606 

Liberty  Hall 
and  Science 

Acts  1784, 
Ch.  21 







the  commercial  and  educational  interest  of  the  common¬ 
wealth.  The  inspection  laws,  pilotage  regulations,  and  road 
laws  were  revised  and  perfected ;  and  steps  were  taken  to 
make  navigable  the  Roanoke  and  the  Dan,  also  the  Cape 
Fear,  the  Neuse,  the  Tar,  the  Trent  and  the  Fishing  Creek; 
and  indeed  the  county  courts  were  authorized  to  make  nav¬ 
igable  at  county  expense  any  stream  in  their  respective 
counties,  while  private  enterprise  undertook  to  cut  the  Club¬ 
foot  and  Ffarlow  canal.  In  the  interest  of  commerce  a 
special  court  was  established  to  be  held  at  the  four  seaport 
towns,  to  try  cases  arising  among  foreigners  or  seamen, 
or  involving  subjects  of  a  mercantile  nature.  Provision  was 
made  for  taking  a  census  of  the  inhabitants  and  a  tax  was  to 
retire  old  currency.  Trustees  were  appointed  for  Innes 
Academy;  and  for  two  public  schools  in  Onslow,  for  two 
academies  in  Morganton  district ;  and,  the  trustees  of  Liberty 
Hall  at  Charlotte  having  represented  that  institution  had 
fallen  into  decay  and  having  petitioned  for  its  removal  to 
Salisbury,  trustees  were  appointed  for  Liberty  Hall  to  be 
established  at  Salisbury,  and,  amending  the  charter  of 
Science  Hall  at  Hillsboro,  the  Assembly  converted  the  old 
St.  Matthews  church  into  a  free  church  and  an  academy.  • 
And  in  a  spirit  of  tolerance,  a  special  act  was  passed  allow¬ 
ing  the  Quakers  to  wear  their  hats  in  the  courts  :  and  the  oath 
of  allegiance  was  likewise  modified,  for  all  persons  admitted 
as  citizens  were  required  to  take  the  oath  of  allegiance  and 
fidelity  to  the  State. 

In  grateful  recognition  of  Lafayette’s  services  the  name 
of  the  town  of  Campbellton  had  been  changed  to  Fayette¬ 
ville  and  its  importance  had  been  extended  by  making  it 
the  seat  of  a  District  Court :  and  now  Moore  County  was 
laid  off. 

As  the  State  now  claimed  the  Granville  territory,  direc¬ 
tions  were  given  that  all  the  papers  connected  with  Gran¬ 
ville’s  land  officers  should  be  collected  and  preserved. 
Henry  McCulloh  had  succeeded  to  his  father’s  rights  in 



the  lands  granted  him  for  settlement  in  1736;  but  he  being 
a  Loyalist,  his  estates,  like  Granville’s,  were  held  forfeited, 
and  his  petition  for  their  restoration,  although  warmly 
pressed  by  many  influential  friends,  was  denied. 

Indeed  the  implacable  animosity  of  the  fiercer  Whigs 
against  the  Tories  was  constantly  manifest.  Agreeably  to 
the  express  desire  of  the  Continental  Congress,  the  Grand 
Committee  of  the  Assembly  brought  forward  bills  to  repeal 
such  laws  as  were  inconsistent  with  the  Treaty  of  Peace, 
and  to  restore  to  the  Tories  such  confiscated  property  as 
had  not  been  already  sold.  Johnston,  Hooper,  Willie 
Jones,  Maclaine,  Hawkins,  General  Butler,  General  Person 
and  others,  either  from  the  softening  influences  of  friendly 
ties,  or  to  give  effect  in  good  faith  to  the  Treaty  of  Peace, 
advocated  these  measures,  but  without  avail.  Abner  Nash, 
General  Rutherford  and  their  associates  carried  the  day. 
George  Hooper,  brother  of  William  Hooper  and  son-in-law 
of  Maclaine,  was  a  Loyalist,  and  he  and  Henry  Eustace 
McCulloh  had  many  friends;  but  they  were  powerless.  On 
May  day,  when  hope  and  cheerfulness  are  commonly  in  the 
ascendant,  Hooper  wrote :  “My  hopes  are  at  an  end.  This 
day  has  put  the  matter  beyond  controversy;  and  there  is 
not  a  phrenzy  of  misguided  political  zeal,  avarice  cloaked  in 
the  cover  of  patriotism,  or  private  passion  and  prejudice, 
under  the  pretense  of  revenging  the  wrongs  of  the  country, 
let  these  be  carried  to  what  excess  they  will — that  can  give 
us  the  least  surprise.  In  the  Commons  in  spite  of  every¬ 
thing  I  could  do,  the  bill  was  rejected,  some  20  of  80  for  it. 
It  fared  worse  in  the  Senate.  Mr.  Johnston  spoke  for  it; 
Willie  Jones  stept  forward  in  a  very  becoming  manner: — 
their  labor  was  lost.  Griffith  Rutherford  called  the  objects 
of  the  recommendatory  clause,  ‘Imps  of  Hell’ ;  the  vote 
was  called,  and  there  were  not  ten  in  favor  of  it.”  Later 
he  wrote :  “The  political  phrenzy  was  high ;  beyond  any¬ 
thing  I  had  foreseen.”  The  popular  heart  was  indeed 
strongly  set  against  the  Tories. 

The  Tories 







Western  territory  ceded 

Another  measure  also  led  to  divergences.  Congress  in 
sore  straits  had  urged  the  states  to  cede  their  unsettled 
western  territories  for  the  benefit  of  the  Union.  North 
Carolina  had  such  territory,  and  some  of  the  people  desired 
the  cession  to  be  made. 

The  North  Carolina  Legislature,  adopting  the  suggestion, 
offered  to  cede  her  entire  territory  beyond  the  mountains, 
although  it  was  thought  to  contain  one-tenth  of  her  popula¬ 
tion.  The  proceeds  of  the  unoccupied  land  thus  ceded 
were  to  be  for  the  payment  of  the  creditors  of  the  Lmited 
States.  This  measure  was  deemed  by  some  as  unjust,  weak¬ 
ening  the  security  of  the  creditors  of  the  State  and  depriv¬ 
ing  the  inhabitants  of  a  chief  asset  for  the  payment  of  their 
public  indebtedness.  William  R.  Davie  made  vigorous  op¬ 
position,  and  under  his  leadership  General  Person  and 
thirty-six  other  members  filed  a  strong  protest  against  it. 
In  particular  it  met  with  the  disfavor  of  the  representatives 
of  the  interior  counties,  and  even  some  of  those  from  be¬ 
yond  the  mountains  strenuously  objected.  But  the  purpose 
to  contribute  to  the  common  fund  of  the  Union  was  strong, 
and,  besides,  there  were  both  political  and  economical  rea¬ 
sons  for  the  cession.  The  inhabitants  of  the  territory  were 
entirely  segregated,  and  the  administration  of  public  affairs, 
rendered  difficult  as  well  as  expensive  by  the  remoteness  of 
the  region  cut  off  by  impassable  mountains,  had  been  so 
unsatisfactory  that  many  of  the  people  were  discontented 
and  desired  separation.  And  so,  despite  much  earnest  op¬ 
position,  the  bill  was  hastily  passed  without  the  subject  hav¬ 
ing  been  discussed  at  all  among  the  people  of  the  State. 
There  were,  however,  several  conditions  attached  to  the 
donation.  It  was  to  be  accepted  by  Congress  within  twelve 
months.  As  a  provision  for  orderly  government,  the 
territory  was  to  have  the  North  Carolina  Constitution  until 
the  inhabitants  themselves  should  change  it ;  and  there  was 



to  be  no  regulation  made  by  Congress  tending  to  the  emanci¬ 
pation  of  slaves  other  than  should  be  directed  by  the  new 
State  itself.  This  last  provision  was  inserted  .because 
Congress  had  already  manifested  a  disposition  to  legislate 
against  slavery.  When  an  ordinance  was  being  framed  for 
the  government  of  the  Northwest  Territory,  a  provision  pro¬ 
hibiting  slavery  in  that  region  failed  only  by  the  vote  of 
Richard  Dobbs  Spaight,  one  of  the  North  Carolina  dele¬ 
gates.  Three  years  later,  in  1787,  when  a  second  ordinance 
was  passed,  Jefferson  was  successful  and  slavery  was  forever 
prohibited  in  that  extensive  region. 

There  was  a  further  provision  in  the  Act  of  Cession  that 
until  Congress  should  accept  the  gift  the  sovereignty  and 
jurisdiction  of  North  Carolina,  in  and  over  the  territory 
and  the  inhabitants  thereof,  should  remain  in  all  respects 
as  if  the  act  had  not  been  passed.  So  with  respect  to 
government  in  the  territory,  the  existing  government  was 
not  disturbed;  nor  was  it  to  be  disturbed  until  Congress 
should  accept  the  gift;  and  then  it  was  provided  that  the 
Constitution  under  which  the  people  had  lived  should  con¬ 
tinue  to  be  their  fundamental  law  until  changed  by  them¬ 
selves.  Subject  to  the  conditions  mentioned,  North 
Carolina,  in  June,  1784,  made  the  tender  of  one-half  of  her 
territory  already  somewhat  settled,  and  with  population 
pouring  into  it,  for  the  benefit  of  the  Union.  Truly  it 
bespoke  of  high  patriotism.  No  other  state  had  been  so 
liberal  in  sustaining  the  common  government.  If  during 
the  war  North  Carolina’s  contributions  for  the  cause  had 
been  unsurpassed,  now  in  time  of  peace  she  again  set  an 
example  for  her  sisters  to  follow. 

At  the  west 

Some  unexpected  events,  however,  quickly  followed  the 
passage  of  the  act.  When  the  measure  was  being  consid¬ 
ered  some  of  the  representatives  from  the  counties  embraced 
favored  its  passage,  while  others  stoutly  opposed  it.  The 


S.  R.,  XXIV, 











sentiment  of  the  leaders  was  divided,  but  the  people  for 
the  most  part  hailed  it  with  satisfaction.  For  some  time 
courts  had  not  been  regularly  held  beyond  the  mountains, 
and  the  laws  were  not  fully  enforced.  Settlers  were  daily 
encroaching  on  the  lands  of  the  Indians,  who  had  become 
irritated  because  of  prolonged  delay  in  delivering  to  them 
goods,  agreeable  to  a  treaty  stipulation,  in  compensation  for 
territory  already  relinquished.  These  circumstances  aroused 
a  spirit  of  hostility  and  several  of  the  encroaching  settlers 
were  murdered.  A  feeling  of  unrest,  perhaps  of  insecurity, 
began  to  pervade  the  settlement.  And,  so,  when  the  news 
was  received  of  the  Act  of  Cession,  among  the  greater  num¬ 
ber  of  people  it  fell  on  willing  ears.  It  was  urged  that  the 
State  had  neither  sufficiently  enforced  law  nor  given  ade¬ 
quate  protection ;  and  soon  the  people  numbering  some 
thirty  thousand,  hardy  and  self-reliant,  moved  forward  with 
eagerness  to  assume  the  functions  of  self  government. 
Doubtless,  also,  the  vista  of  public  honors  in  a  separate  and 
independent  commonwealth  was  pleasant  and  alluring  to 
aspiring  leaders  and  quickened  them  to  action.  There  was 
some  objection;  but  the  voices  of  those  who  doubted  were 
drowned  in  the  general  commotion.  Although  not  author¬ 
ized  under  the  act  of  the  Legislature,  a  movement  was  made 
to  hold  a  popular  convention.  Without  delay  the  counties 
of  Washington,  Sullivan  and  Greene  elected  delegates,  who 
assembled  at  Jonesboro  in  August,  1784.  It  is  the  first  step 
that  always  costs.  This  irregular  action,  not  anticipated  nor 
authorized  by  North  Carolina,  was  the  beginning  of  events 
that  led  to  grievous  disappointments  and  deplorable  anarchy. 
The  idea  of  independence  had  been  urged  with  great  zeal 
and  had  taken  strong  hold  on  the  public  mind.  The  pro¬ 
ceedings  of  the  Convention  were  opened  by  reading  the  Dec¬ 
laration  of  Independence ;  the  Act  of  Cession  was  approved ; 
and  initial  steps  were  taken  to  establish  a  new  government ; 
and  an  association  was  adopted  and  signed  to  maintain 
independence.  John  Sevier  presided  over  the  Convention 



and  gave  direction  to  affairs.  One  of  the  heroes  of  Kings 
Mountain,  he  had  long  been  the  most  important  personage 
in  that  region,  and  was  esteemed  for  his  capacity  and 
character  no  less  than  for  his  bravery  and  vigorous  action. 
Under  his  direction  it  was  determined  to  call  a  second  con¬ 
vention  for  the  purpose  of  framing  a  constitution,  and  in 
the  interim  it  was  resolved  that  the  new  State  should  es¬ 
tablish  a  government  similar  to  that  of  North  Carolina. 

The  North  Carolina  Assembly 

In  August  the  North  Carolina  election  was  held  under 
the  new  law,  and  in  October  the  Assembly  met  at  New 
Bern.  As  Governor  Martin’s  term  was  to  expire  in  the 
spring,  a  successor  was  now  to  be  chosen.  Caswell  and 
Nash  were  the  aspirants,  the  former  becoming  the  victor  by 
twenty  majority. 

The  people  had  not  generally  approved  the  Act  of  Ces¬ 
sion.  Davie  and  his  followers  had  been  sustained  at  the 
election,  and  the  new  Assembly  was  in  sympathy  with  that 
faction.  Besides,  a  new  cause  of  dissatisfaction  was  now 
brought  to  the  attention  of  the  members. 

Virginia  and  New  York  had  in  December,  1783,  agreed  to 
convey  to  Congress  the  unsettled  territory  beyond  the  Ohio ; 
but  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut  had  set  up  a  claim  for  a 
part  of  that  region  for  themselves ;  and  these  and  other 
states  were  making  demands  on  Congress  for  the  repay¬ 
ment  to  them  of  bounties  paid  to  their  troops,  and  were 
presenting  claims  for  other  military  expenses  incurred  for 
local  purposes.  These  demands,  so  at  variance  with  North 
Carolina’s  liberality,  excited  disgust  and  aroused  indignation. 
The  Assembly  directed  the  Governor  to  make  up  North 
Carolina’s  expenditures  and  to  insist  on  payment ;  and,  it 
appearing  that  other  states  had  not  passed  acts  levying  taxes 







3.  R.,  XXIV, 

S.  R.,  XIX, 

S.  R.,  XXIV, 

Ibid.,  689 

S.  R.,  XVII, 

March,  1785 

for  the  Union  similar  to  those  passed  by  North  Carolina, 
the  money  collected  under  these  acts  was  directed  to  be 
turned  into  the  State  treasury ;  and  further,  since  Congress 
had  not  yet  accepted  the  gift  of  the  western  territory, 
the  Assembly  repealed  the  Act  of  Cession,  the  vote  in  the 
House  being  3 7  to  22.  So  within  six  months  after  the 
offer  was  made,  it  was  withdrawn.  Having  determined  to 
retain  the  territory,  the  Assembly  created  a  new  judicial 
district,  called  the  District  of  Washington,  covering  the  four 
western  counties,  and  appointed  John  Haywood  to  pre¬ 
side,  and  David  Campbell  an  associate  judge;  and  John 
Sevier  was  appointed  Brigadier  General  of  the  district. 

Tlie  State  of  Franklin 

Sevier  had  been  the  central  figure  in  the  movement  to 
establish  a  new  state,  but,  on  learning  of  this  action  of  the 
North  Carolina  Assembly,  he  was  satisfied  with  it  and  urged 
that  no  further  steps  ought  to  be  taken  looking  to  separa¬ 
tion.  A  majority  of  the  inhabitants,  however,  determined 
to  persist,  and  Sevier’s  advice  was  disregarded.  Neverthe¬ 
less  he  exerted  his  influence  to  such  good  purpose  as  to 
prevent  the  election  of  delegates  to  the  approaching  con¬ 
vention  in  two  of  the  counties.  Elsewhere  his  opposition 
was  ineffectual,  and,  finding  the  popular  current  for  separa¬ 
tion  too  strong  to  be  stemmed,  he  at  length  yielded  to  it 
and  became  a  member  of  the  new  convention  and  presided 
over  it.  That  body  framed  a  constitution  similar  to  that 
of  North  Carolina,  which  was  submitted  to  the  people  for 
their  consideration,  to  be  rejected  or  ratified  by  a  conven¬ 
tion  to  assemble  thereafter;  and  it  ordered  an  election  for 
members  of  Assembly.  The  Assembly  so  elected  con¬ 
vened  in  March,  1785.  At  its  first  session  it  elected  Sevier 
Governor  of  the  State  for  a  term  of  three  years,  and  David 
Campbell  presiding  judge  of  its  courts ;  and  also  appointed 
State  and  county  officers.  The  old  county  officers  who  had 
been  commissioned  by  North  Carolina  were  for  the  most 



part  retained  in  their  respective  offices.  The  county  of 
Greene  was  divided,  and  two  new  counties  erected,  one 
named  Sevier,  and  the  other  in  compliment  of  Governor 
Caswell;  while  an  academy  was  incorporated,  called  in  hon¬ 
or  of  Governor  Martin,  as  the  State  itself  had  been  called 
Franklin  in  compliment  of  Dr.  Franklin,  then  of  great  in¬ 
fluence  in  the  Continental  Congress.  The  salaries*  of  the 
officers  were  fixed  at  moderate  amounts ;  and,  there  being 
a  scarcity  of  currency,  it  was  enacted  that  the  produce  of 
the  country  should  be  received  at  certain  fixed  values  in  pay¬ 
ment  of  all  taxes,  public  debts  and  salaries.  This  was 
entirely  similar  to  the  early  practice  of  Albemarle  and 
North  Carolina;  and  the  same  custom  had  prevailed  in  some 
other  states  and  communities.  Good  flax  linen  was  rated 
at  3s.  and  6d.  per  yard,  linsey  at  3d.,  beaver  and  otter  skins 
at  6d.,  raccoon  and  fox  skins  is.  3d.,  woolen  cloth  at  10s., 
bacon  6d.  per  pound,  good  distilled  rye  whiskey,  2s.  6d.  a 
gallon,  peach  or  apple  brandy  at  3s.  a  gallon,  country  made 
sugar  at  is.  per  pound;  deer  skins  6s.,  good  tobacco  15s.* 
the  hundred. 

O11  learning  that  the  people  were  taking  steps  to  form  a 
separate  state,  Governor  Martin,  in  1785,  dispatched  a  spe¬ 
cial  messenger  to  General  Sevier,  notifying  him  of  the 
repeal  of  the  Act  of  Cession  and  warning  him  and  the  peo¬ 
ple  to  desist  from  their  revolutionary  proceedings  and  be 
obedient  to  the  laws  of  North  Carolina.  But  the  admoni¬ 
tion  was  disregarded.  The  Legislature  of  Franklin  was 
then  in  session  and  made  a  formal  reply,  as  also  did  Gover¬ 
nor  Sevier,  declaring  their  purpose  to  proceed ;  and  Colonel 
William  Cocke  was  directed  to  hasten  to  Philadelphia  and 
solicit  Congress  to  admit  the  State  of  Franklin  into  the 
Confederacy.  ■  North  Carolina,  they  said,  had  cast  them 
off  and  they  did  not  mean  to  return. 

*The  word  “salary”  had  its  origin  in  the  practice  of  paying  the  old  Roman 
soldiers  their  stipends  in  salt. 

Ramsay : 


Martin  acts 

April,  1785 

S.  R.,  XVII, 
601,  625 

S.  R„  XXII, 



On  receiving  these  replies  Governor  Martin  convened 
his  Council,  and  on  April  25,  published  a  manifesto  requir¬ 
ing  the  inhabitants  beyond  the  mountains  to  abandon  their 
purpose  to  form  a  new  state,  and  to  return  to  their  alle¬ 
giance.  He  declared  that  the  people  of  North  Carolina  were 
unwilling  to  part  with  them  as  indicated  by  the  result  of 
the  recent  election  for  members  of  the  Assembly ;  that  all 
their  grievances  had  been  remedied  ;  that  a  military  district 
had  been  created  for  them,  and  a  brigadier  general  ap¬ 
pointed;  and  also  that  a  resident  associate  judge  had  been 
appointed  to  hold  their  courts.  But  both  his  entreaties  and 
warnings  were  equally  unheeded.  Undismayed  by  the  Gov¬ 
ernor’s  proclamation,  Sevier  and  his  associates,  although  de¬ 
nounced  as  being  in  revolt,  held  fast  to  their  new  constitution 
and  reveled  in  the  delights  of  independence.  Evan  Shelby, 
now  appointed  Brigadier,  in  the  place  of  Sevier,  and  John 
Tipton,  the  Colonel  of  his  county,  and  Col.  James  Martin, 
s.  r.,  xvii,  the  Indian  agent,  all  men  of  great  influence,  exerted  their 
utmost  power  to  arrest  the  progress  of  events,  but  with' 
out  avail.  Finding  that  the  western  counties  persisted  in 
their  course  and  defied  the  authority  of  the  State,  Governor 
Martin  issued  a  call  for  the  Assembly  to  meet  in  New  Bern 
on  June  1. 

In  the  meantime  the  people  of  Franklin  were  not  inac¬ 
tive.  They  proceeded  to  administer  the  affairs  of  the  new 
State  with  resolution  and  determination.  Colonel  Cocke, 
on  reaching  Philadelphia  about  the  middle  of  May,  met 
with  much  favor  at  the  hands  of  Congress,  and  that  body, 
with  scant  courtesy  to  the  North  Carolina  delegates,  mani¬ 
fested  its  sympathy  in  his  mission  by  urging  North  Caro¬ 
lina  to  retrace  her  steps  and  annul  the  repealing  act  and 
execute  a  conveyance  of  the  western  territory  to  the  Union. 



Thus  matters  stood  at  the  opening  of  June  when  Martin’s 
term  expired  and  Caswell  entered  on  the  administration. 

Although  the  Legislature  had  been  called  to  meet  with  the  Jun6(  1785 
new  Governor,  a  quorum  did  not  attend,  and  Caswell  was 
left  to  deal  with  the  novel  situation  without  its  aid. 

Doubtless  the  large  majority  of  the  inhabitants  of  Frank¬ 
lin  had  merely  removed  from  Orange,  Anson  and  Rowan 
counties  across  the  mountains,  although  others  came  in  from 
Virginia.  The  western  part  of  North  Carolina,  from  the 
present  Hillsboro  to  Lincolnton,  had  been  settled  by  thou¬ 
sands  of  Germans  and  Irish,  with  a  sprinkle  of  French  and 
Scotch,  and  some  English  west  of  the  Yadkin,  and  Quakers 
from  Back  Bay,  Maine,  Nantucket,  Pennsylvania  and 
Maryland;  and  the  Moravians.  In  1756,  an  entry  in  the 
Moravian  Diary  reads  “Three  wagons  loaded  with  grain 
came  to  the  mill  today:  two  were  from  New  Garden,  a 
Quaker  settlement,  and  the  third  was  from  the  Jersey  (Irish) 
settlement.”  Those  emigrants  had  now  for  years  been 
North  Carolinians,  and  when  they  went  across  the  mountains 
they  were  still  citizens  of  the  State,  and  Caswell  did  not  wish 
to  deal  with  them  harshly. 


Caswell's  Second  Administration 

Caswell’s  policy  of  conciliation. — The  Assembly  makes  laws 
for  the  Western  District. — Formalities  of  elections  dispensed 
with. — The  interregnum. — Commerce  and  copyright. — The  Grove 
and  other  academies  chartered. — The  controversy  between  the 
bar  and  the  bench. — The  Assembly  disappoints  the  Tories. — 
The  court  suspends  an  act  of  Assembly. — It  banishes  Brice  and 
McNeil. — The  alleged  frauds  against  the  State. — The  Annapolis 
conference. — The  Assembly  meets  at  Fayetteville. — The  arrest  of 
the  state  prisoners. — The  conduct  of  the  judges  investigated. — 
The  judges  thanked. — They  hold  the  Act  of  Assembly  unconsti¬ 
tutional. — Commissioners  appointed  to  the  Philadelphia  Conven¬ 
tion. — Pardon  offered  to  the  inhabitants  of  Franklin. — Sumner 
County  erected. — Importation  of  slaves  taxed. — The  population  of 
the  counties. — Delegates  to  the  Continental  Congress. — The  trial 
of  the  state  prisoners. — Moore,  Davie  and  Iredell. — The  convic¬ 
tion  and  punishment  of  the  prisoners. 


S.  R.,  XVII, 
446,  472 

S.  R.f  XX,  5 

Caswell,  called  now  for  the  second  time  to  the  helm  of 
the  State  at  a  difficult  period,  acted  with  that  prudence  and 
moderation  which  had  ever  characterized  his  public  conduct. 
In  anticipation  of  his  administration,  on  May  17,  Sevier 
wrote  him  a  long  representation,  inveig'hing  strongly  against 
Governor  Martin,  who  had  “lately  sent  up  into  our  country 
a  manifesto,  together  with  letters  to  private  persons,  in  order 
to  stir  up  sedition  and  insurrection.”  In  reply,  Caswell  said 
that  matters  must  remain  as  they  were  until  the  Assembly 
should  meet;  but  he  was  not  to  be  understood  as  giving 
countenance  to  the  measures  taken  by  the  people  west  of 
the  mountains.  The  situation  in  Franklin  therefore  re¬ 
mained  undisturbed.  The  Legislature  held  its  sessions  and 
made  laws  and  the  officers  of  the  new  State  performed  their 
functions  without  interruption. 

When  the  Assembly  met  in  November  Martin  succeeded 
to  the  position  of  Speaker  of  the  Senate  made  vacant  by 



Caswell’s  elevation  to  the  executive  office.  His  influence 
was  unabated.  Representations  were  made  to  the  Assembly 
on  behalf  of  the  people  of  Franklin;  but  they  were  un¬ 
heeded.  Harsh  measures,  however,  were  not  taken.  On 
the  contrary  a  policy  of  conciliation  was  pursued.  While 
asserting  the  sovereignty  of  the  State  over  that  part  of 
her  territory,  the  Assembly  refrained  from  the  exertion  of 
force,  doubtless  expecting  that  sooner  or  later  the  people 
would  voluntarily  return  to  their  allegiance.  Still  it  made 
laws  to  be  enforced  in  that  particular  part  of  the  State. 
Because  of  the  tide  of  immigration  setting  to  that  remote 
wilderness,  in  order  to  preserve  the  grain  raised  as  food 
for  the  inhabitants,  the  Assembly  forbade  the  erection  of 
any  distilleries  beyond  the  mountains.  Moreover,  it  ap¬ 
pointed  inspectors  of  tobacco  for  that  region,  for  the  cul¬ 
ture  of  the  weed  had  extended  beyond  Surry  and  Burke 
to  the  confines  of  civilization.  It  also  provided  for  the 
erection  of  an  academy  at  Nashville,  granting  240  acres  of 
land  for  the  purpose ;  and  it  established  a  Superior  Court 
for  Davidson  County.  Indeed,  the  people  of  that  county  were 
so  remote  from  the  State  of  Franklin  that  they  were  not 
at  all  involved  in  the  movement  on  the  Watauga  and  were 
in  entire  accord  with  North  Carolina.  At  the  session  of 
1785  John  Haywood  was  appointed  judge  to  hold  court 
across  the  mountains,  but  the  situation  was  so  perilous  that 
in  June  he  wrote  to  the  Governor  that  if  it  was  thought  that 
he  should  risk  his  life  through  hostile  savages,  he  would  at 
the  peril  of  his  life  undertake  the  service.  He  seems  not 
to  have  gone.  The  next  year  John  Brown  was  elected 

Of  the  inhabitants  in  Franklin  there  were  some  who  ad¬ 
hered  to  North  Carolina,  but  the  authority  of  the  State  was 
so  generally  rejected  that  in  order  to  afford  an  opportunity 
for  the  loyal  people  to  be  represented  in  the  General  Assem¬ 
bly,  it  was  deemed  necessary  to  pass  a  special  act  dispensing 
with  the  customary  formalities  of  holding  the  polls ;  and 



election  law 




S.  R.,  XXIV, 

Life  of 
Iredell,  142 

there  were  some  elections  held  under  this  act.  However, 
all  measures  to  induce  the  people  to  abandon  the  new  gov¬ 
ernment  were  without  avail,  and  North  Carolina’s  authority 
being  no  longer  recognized,  a  period  of  three  years,  sub¬ 
sequent  to  1784,  was  afterwards  known  as  the  interregnum. 

The  North  Carolina  Assembly 

The  Assembly  was  progressive.  Acts  were  passed  regu¬ 
lating  commerce  and  insuring  the  merchantable  character  of 
products  intended  for  export;  for  enlarging  the  jurisdiction 
of  the  county  courts,  and  securing  to  an  author  a  copyright 
of  any  book,  map  or  chart  he  should  prepare  and  publish,  to 
last  for  a  period  of  fourteen  years.  The  Dobbs  Academy 
was  incorporated  for  Kinston,  and  one  called  The  Grove, 
afterwards  attaining  much  celebrity,  in  Duplin,  and  Eden- 
ton  was  authorized  to  donate  six  acres  of  the  town  common 
to  the  Smith  Academy.  The  schools  already  established 
were  apparently  efficient  and  effective.  Of  that  at  Hills¬ 
boro,  originally  chartered  as  Science  Hall,  Hooper  wrote : 
“We  had  an  annual  commencement  or  examination.  The 
boys  exceeded  our  most  earnest  expectations.  They  were 
examined  in  Latin,  English,  natural  philosophy,  geography, 
geometry  and  Euclid ;  some  spoke  a  little  in  Latin  and 

The  administration  of  the  courts  had  not  given  satisfac¬ 
tion.  The  judges  had  fallen  into  a  habit  of  having  long 
discussions,  without  deciding  cases,  and  the  dockets  were 
crowded.  In  July,  1785,  Hooper  wrote  to  Iredell :  “Our 
court  at  Wilmington  went  on  in  the  old  dilatory  mode  of 
doing  business.  Great  threats  of  dispatch,  accomplished 
in  the  usual  way.  Much  conversation  from  Germanicus 
(Spencer)  on  the  bench;  his  vanity  has  become  insufferable, 
and  is  accompanied  by  the  most  overbearing  insolence. 
Maclaine  and  he  had  a  terrible  fracas.  The  courts  must  be 
altered.  Against  the  present  system  the  cries  of  the  people 
are  loud ;  they  must  be  heard.  But  what  affects  me  most, 



the  censure  is  pointed  at  the  bar,  when  the  occasion  is 
seated  much  higher.”  At  the  following  session  of  the  As¬ 
sembly  John  Hay  introduced  a  bill  to  establish  a  court  of 
appeals.  Powerfully  urged  by  the  bar,  it  passed  the  House, 
but  failed  in  the  Senate.  The  prime  purpose  was  to  re¬ 
move  the  judges,  and  the  failure  of  the  measure  was  the 
defeat  of  the  lawyers.  Their  efforts  to  establish  a  new 
system  had  come  to  grief.  They  also  met  with  a  severe 
reverse  in  their  purpose  in  respect  to  the  Tories.  The  new 
Assembly  reelected  Caswell  and  was  surrounded  by  the 
same  influence  as  the  previous  one.  The  Loyalists  had  not 
grown  in  favor,  and  the  sentiment  of  the  country  found 
expression  in  new  legislation  adverse  to  their  interests. 
Once  more  it  was  enacted  that  no  one  who  had  ever  given 
aid  or  countenance  to  the  British  should  hold  any  office  in 
the  State ;  and  because  some  of  the  returned  Tories  were 
seeking  to  regain  possession  of  their  property  under  the 
provision  of  the  Treaty  of  Peace,  the  Assembly,  to  put  an 
end  to  such  proceedings,  ratified  all  sales  made  by  the 
commissioners  of  confiscated  property  and  declared  that 
the  sales  passed  title  to  the  purchasers,  and  that  the  pur¬ 
chasers  should  not  be  liable  to  answer  any  suit  instituted 
to  recover  the  property;  and  the  more  certainly  to  effect  the 
purpose,  it  directed  the  courts  to  dismiss  any  such  suits 
that  might  be  brought. 

The  last  ray  of  hope  that  buoyed  the  expectant  Loyalists 
seemed  to  be  extinguished ;  and,  moreover,  this  sweeping 
legislation  aroused  the  indignation  of  the  lawyers  who  were 
interested  in  this  class  of  profitable  litigation,  and,  also  of 
those  conservative  public  men  who  desired  to  see  the  Treaty 
carried  into  effect  and  its  obligations  honorably  observed. 
Iredell  hotly  declared :  “No  consideration  shall  induce  me, 
directly  or  indirectly,  to  support,  countenance  or  have  act  or 
part  in  carrying  so  infamous  a  law  into  execution.”  Mac¬ 
laine  was  full  of  ire:  “The  Assembly  and  the  judges  have 
indeed  found  an  easy  way  to  avoid  the  Treaty.  The  for- 


S.  R.,  XXIV, 

Life  of 
Iredell,  133 




Life  of 
Iredell,  137 

S.  R., 

XVIII,  138 

Ibid.,  139 

mer  refuse  to  point  out  any  method  to  ascertain  what  is 
confiscated;  and  the  judges  refuse  to  let  any  person,  whose 
property  may  be  taken  by  a  rapacious  commissioner,  main¬ 
tain  a  suit,  so  that  we  seem  to  be  at  the  mercy  of  a  set  of 
needy  adventurers,  whose  interest  it  is  to  pillage  us.”  This 
adverse  criticism  of  the  commissioners  was  not,  however, 
founded  in  rancorous  partisanship,  for  they  were  men 
who  had  served  with  honorable  distinction  in  the  field  dur¬ 
ing  the  war,  making  every  sacrifice  that  patriotism  had  de¬ 
manded,  and  had  given  to  the  world  sufficient  evidence  that 
they  were  not  actuated  by  a  spirit  of  rapacity.  However,  a 
constitutional  question  was  involved  in  the  new  legislation 
that  at  first  escaped  the  attention  of  the  lawyers :  had  the 
Legislature,  under  the  Constitution,  power  to  direct  the 
judicial  department  of  the  government  to  dismiss  actions 
regularly  instituted?  In  England  the  power  of  Parliament 
was  supreme,  so  supreme  that  some  one  had  wittily  re¬ 
marked  that  its  only  limitation  was  that  it  could  not  make 
a  woman  to  be  a  man.  In  the  new  state  governments  writ¬ 
ten  constitutions  had  replaced  the  unwritten  constitution  of 
Great  Britain;  and  these  instruments  were  the  charts  of 
government.  The  judicial  department  was  separate  and 
distinct  from  the  legislative,  and  independent  of  it.  At 
the  first  court  held  after  the  passage  of  this  act,  in  May, 
1786,  at  New  Bern,  a  motion  was  made  to  dismiss  such  a 
suit,  agreeably  to  the  act.  The  judges  did  not  assent.  They 
took  an  advisari  and  recommended  to  the  parties  to  settle 
their  differences  out  of  court.  At  once  the  subject  came 
under  public  discussion.  The  judges  were  severely  ar¬ 
raigned,  even  by  some  of  the  bar,  whose  hostility  was 
deep  seated. 

During  the  December  term,  1785,  at  Wilmington,  two 
Tories,  Francis  Brice  and  Dr.  Daniel  McNeil,  of  Bladen, 
who  had  fled  the  State  under  charge  of  treason,  because  of 
acts  committed  during  the  war,  returned  and  “paraded  the 



streets  with  an  insolent  bearing.”  Out  of  respect  for  the 
court,  then  in  session,  the  inhabitants  forbore  the  personal 
chastisement  which  such  conduct  invited.  The  presence 
and  bearing  of  these  men,  and  the  repressed  indignation  of 
the  people,  being  brought  to  the  attention  of  the  court  by 
General  Brown  and  Colonel  Robeson,  the  court  directed  the 
grand  jury  that,  although  there  was  no  statute  on  the 
subject,  no  sovereign  state  was  without  power  to  prevent 
it  from  receiving  injury;  that  the  return  of  these  men 
was  in  itself  a  misdemeanor,  and  that  the  court  would  de¬ 
termine  whether  the  act  was  criminal;  that  if  it  appeared 
to  them  that  the  allegations  were  true,  they  could  find  a 
true  bill.  Indictments  were  found ;  the  parties  were  tried 
and  convicted,  and  the  court  imposed  a  small  fine  on  both, 
and  directed  that  they  should  enter  into  bond  to  depart  the 
State  within  sixty  days.  The  banishment  of  these  Tories 
greatly  inflamed  the  lawyers  who  were  caring  for  the  in¬ 
terests  of  the  Loyalists. 

Constant  were  the  collisions  between  the  bench  and  some 
of  the  bar,  whose  bearing  towards  the  court  greatly  ex¬ 
asperated  the  judges.  In  the  course  of  one  of  these  incidents, 
Judge  Ashe,  on  the  bench,  told  John  Hay  that  his  insolence 
to  Judge  Sitgreaves,  in  the  court  of  admiralty,  deserved  to 
be  answered  with  a  cane.  Hay  was,  in  particular,  a  leading 
agitator,  publishing  articles  with  a  view  of  bringing  the 
judges  into  disrepute  and  covering  them  with  ridicule. 

Robbery  of  the  State 

As  great  as  was  the  commotion  that  attended  these  pro¬ 
ceedings,  there  was  another  subject  that  agitated  the  State 
even  still  more.  Early  in  1785  a  board  composed  of  Ben¬ 
jamin  McCulloh,  John  Macon  and  Henry  Montfort,  men  of 
high  social  standing  and  strong  connections,  was  appointed 
to  liquidate  army  accounts.  Certificates  were  to  be  given 
by  officers  to  those  who  had  rendered  service,  which,  when 


S.  R.,  XVII, 

Life  of 
Iredell,  89, 



approved  by  this  board,  would  be  paid  by  the  State  Treas¬ 
urer.  It  came  to  be  rumored  that  in  many  instances,  cer¬ 
tificates  were  given  in  blank ;  that  in  some  cases  no  services 
whatever  had  been  performed,  and,  in  others,  forgery  had 
been  resorted  to.  It  was  alleged  that  the  officers  shared 
in  the  spoils;  and  it  was  thought  that  some  of  the  board 
were  involved  in  the  conspiracy  to  defraud  the  State.  Soon 
the  entire  State  resounded  with  clamor,  raised  by  rumors, 
trumpeted  by  a  thousand  tongues,  of  widespread  fraud 
and  conspiracy  to  pillage  the  treasury.  Governor  Caswell, 
after  consulting  with  the  Council,  directed  the  treasurer  to 
pay  no  more  claims  until  the  Assembly  should  meet.  Hunt, 
however,  did  not  obey ;  and  the  clamor  grew  in  volume  and 
the  public  indignation  was  Unbounded. 

Commerce  claims  attention 

Another  subject  of  general  concern  also  engaged  public 
attention.  The  powers  of  the  Confederacy  were  found  by 
experience  to  be  inadequate  to  accomplish  the  purposes  of 
the  Union  and  the  regulation  of  commerce  by  the  individual 
1786  states  led  to  controversies.  The  necessity  of  a  change  was 

fully  realized.  In  February,  1786,  Virginia,  pressed  by  ques¬ 
tions  arising  from  commerce  on  the  Chesapeake  by  four 
different  states,  moved  the  waters  by  adopting  resolutions 
inviting  the  states  to  appoint  deputies  to  attend  at  Annap¬ 
olis  in  September  and  consider  amendments  to  the  Articles 
of  Confederation  relating  to  commerce.  On  receiving  this 
invitation,  Governor  Caswell,  in  July,  1786,  called  his  Coun¬ 
cil  together  and  appointed  Abner  Nash,  Alfred  Moore, 
Hugh  Williamson,  John  Gray  Blount  and  Philemon  Haw- 
s  R  kins  to  represent  North  Carolina  in  the  Conference.  Wil- 

xviii,  681  liamson  alone  attended ;  and  on  arriving  he  found  that 
some  of  the  commissioners  from  other  states  had  met  and, 
without  waiting,  had  joined  in  a  recommendation  that  there 
should  be  a  convention  of  all  the  states  to  consider  other 



subjects  besides  that  of  commerce;  and,  having  agreed  on 
that  course,  the  Conference  had  adjourned.  Affairs  relating 
to  the  Union  were  thus  also  in  the  public  mind. 

The  Assembly  convenes 

The  Assembly  was  to  meet  at  Fayetteville,  and  there  was 
great  bustle  preparing  for  the  event.  Already  that  town 
was  spoken  of  as  the  capital.  It  was  at  the  head  of  water 
transportation,  and  was  the  chief  mart  of  the  interior  of 
the  State.  From  there  highways  branched  out  in  all  direc¬ 
tions,  and  its  importance  was  year  by  year  becoming  more 
considerable.  Hopes  of  future  splendor  augmented  the  zeal 
of  the  patriotic  and  hospitable  citizens  in  providing  suitable 
accommodations  for  the  crowd  of  notables  who  were  to  be 
their  guests  during  that  eventful  season.  The  time  was 
big  with  . events,  and  the  public  mind  in  a  state  of  prodigious 
excitement  on  subjects  appealing  to  the  prejudices  of  men 
and  swaying  the  passions  rather  than  their  reason.  Men  of 
high  position,  even  the  State  Treasurer,  were  accused  of 
looting  the  treasury;  there  was  a  clamor  against  the  judges, 
demanding  their  impeachment;  the  western  counties  were 
in  flagrant  revolt,  and,  further,  were  in  peril  of  an  Indian 
war;  the  Treaty  had  not  yet  been  given  effect;  the  union 
of  the  states  was  in  jeopardy,  being  held  but  by  a  rope  of 
sand,  and  there  was  a  pressing  demand  for  an  enlargement 
of  the  powers  of  the  Continental  Congress.  Such  were  the 
larger  matters  that  were  engaging  public  attention  when  the 
Assembly  met  on  November  18,  1786,  the  most  exciting  by 
far  being  the  alleged  conspiracy  to  defraud  the  State. 

Caswell,  eminently  a  practical  man,  now  gave  evidence 
of  his  efficiency;  while  James  Coor  and  John  B.  Ashe,  both 
solid  and  capable,  were,  as  speakers  of  the  two  houses, 
measurably  directors  of  events.  On  the  floors  were  Davie, 
Hooper,  Rutherford,  Maclaine,  Spaight,  Cabarrus,  Blount, 
Battle,  Stokes  and  others  of  large  experience  and  approved 

Nov.  1786 






S.  R., 

XVIII,  233 

Ibid.,  251 

Ibid.,  303 

wisdom;  and  Alfred  Moore,  the  learned  and  admirable  At¬ 
torney-General,  was  directed  to  attend  that  the  Assembly 
might  have  the  benefit  of  his  advice. 

The  prisoners  of  state 

The  Governor  hastened  to  detail  the  circumstances  con¬ 
nected  with  the  fraudulent  accounts,  and  added  that  “ Il¬ 
liberal  suggestions  had  been  thrown  out  against  several  of 
your  principal  officers.”  The  subject  was  at  once  taken  up 
and  pressed  with  vigor.  An  order  was  passed  directing 
the  Governor  to  arrest  twenty-three  persons  whose  names 
were  specified,  while  twenty-eight  others  were  named  as 
witnesses.  The  accused  were  to  be  held  in  confinement,  as 
‘'prisoners  of  state.”  Caswell  lost  no  time  in  obeying 
His  measures  were  so  prompt  and  efficient  that  the  Assem¬ 
bly,  in  token  of  its  enthusiastic  approbation,  declared  by 
resolution  that  it  entertained  “the  highest  sense  of  the  up¬ 
right,  spirited  and  vigorous  exertions  of  His  Excellency.” 
A  grand  committee  was  raised  to  make  an  inquisition  and 
to  examine  the  prisoners.  On  December  9  the  houses  met 
in  joint  session,  with  Elisha  Battle  in  the  chair,  to  hear  the 
report.  The  report  was  signed  by  the  full  committee,  among 
others,  General  Rutherford,  General  Gregory  and  Col.  Wil¬ 
liam  Polk.  It  was  full,  explicit,  and  had  the  clear  ring  of 
investigation.  Henry  Montfort,  a  member  of  the  House, 
was  implicated,  and  was  g'iven  a  day  to  exonerate  himself ; 
but  his  explanations  were  so  unsatisfactory  that  he  was  ig- 
nominiously  expelled.  The  Treasurer,  Memican  Hunt, 
was  also  required  to  appear  before  the  houses,  and  was 
heard  in  his  defense.  His  term  was  about  to  expire;  and 
John  Haywood  was  elected  in  his  place. 

For  the  trial  of  the  parties  implicated,  still  held  as 
“state  prisoners,”  a  bill  was  passed  ordering  a  special  term 
of  court  to  he  held  at  Warrenton  on  the  last  Monday  in 



The  judges  impeached 

While  these  proceedings  were  being  taken  against  the 
conspirators  to  pillage  the  treasury,  John  Hay,  hoping  to 
remove  the  judges  from  the  bench,  took  advantage  of  the 
commotion  and  introduced  ,  resolutions  of  impeachment 
against  them.  The  House  notified  the  judges  in  order  that 
they  might  attend.  Williams  and  Spencer  hastened  to 
Fayetteville,  but  Ashe,  saying  that  he  had  “clean  hands  and 
a  pure  heart”  and  would  disregard  the  clamor,  remained  at 
home.  He,  however,  addressed  a  letter  to  the  House  ex¬ 
plaining  the  various  matters  alleged  against  the  court  as 
far  as  he  was  informed  of  the  charges.  He  detailed  the  cir¬ 
cumstances  of  the  case  of  Brice  and  McNeil  and  continued : 
“This  is  the  foundation  of  that  charge  against  the  judges, 
and  I  suppose  the  charge  is  considered  a  mighty  achieve¬ 
ment,  a  matter  of  great  exultation  and  triumph,  that  the 
champion  dare  stand  forth  and  in  the  face  of  the  Legislature 
accuse  the  judicial  power  of  the  State  for  presuming  to 
molest  those  respectable  personages.”  One  of  the  charges 
was  that  the  court  had  suspended  an  act  of  the  Assembly, 
inasmuch  as  it  had  not  dismissed  the  case  at  New  Bern. 
With  reference  to  that  he  observed  :  “If  my  opinion  of  our 
Constitution  is  an  error,  I  feel  it  is  an  incurable  one,  for  I 
had  the  honor  to  assist  in  the  forming  it,  and  confess  I  so 
designed  it,  and  I  believe  every  other  gentleman  concerned 
did  also.”  The  delay  in  the  trial  of  cases  he  laid  largely 
at  the  door  of  the  lawyers. 

The  several  matters  alleged  against  the  court  were  re¬ 
ferred  to  a  committee  of  lawyers  “to  investigate  the  admin¬ 
istration  of  justice”;  and  their  report  being  ready,  at  the 
request  of  the  two  judges  in  attendance,  on  January  1 
the  houses  met  in  conference.  The  two  speakers  in  their 
gowns  took  the  chairs,  and  a  committee  was  sent  to  escort 
the  judges  to  the  chamber.  Maclaine,  the  chairman  of  the 
committee,  read  its  report  as  to  the  facts.  The  houses  then 


Life  of 
Iredell,  155 

S.  R., 

XVIII,  189 

Ashe’s  letter 




Jan. 1787 

S.  R., 

XVIII,  421, 
425,  428 

Ibid.,  218 

Ibid.,  477 

The  judges 

S.  R., 

XVIII,  399 

Life  of 
Iredell,  133 

resolved  themselves  into  a  committee  of  the  whole,  the 
Speaker  surrendering  the  chair  to  Richard  Dobbs  Spaight, 
and  the  judges  were  heard  in  explanation.  All  matters 
against  the  court  were  in  committee  of  the  whole  resolved 
in  favor  of  the  judges.  The  next  day  the  report  of  the  com¬ 
mittee  of  the  whole  was  made  to  the  House  of  Commons, 
and  was  approved  by  a  vote  of  49  to  22.  It  was  then  sent 
to  the  Senate  and  was  concurred  in  by  the  Senate.  Four 
days  later  a  resolution  was  introduced  in  the  Senate  thank¬ 
ing  the  judges  for  their  good  conduct.  The  lawyers  pro¬ 
tested.  They  urged  particularly  that  there  should  be  added 
to  the  resolution  a  paragraph  declaring  that  “banishment 
is  a  punishment  unknown  to  the  laws  of  the  State”;  but 
their  vigorous  protests  only  served  to  strengthen  the  pur¬ 
pose  of  the  majority.  The  resolutions,  as  adopted,  thanked 
“the  judges  for  their  good  conduct  during  the  whole  period 
of  their  service  on  the  bench,  and  particularly  in  the  matters 
for  which  they  were  charged  in  the  present  Assembly.” 
The  resentment  against  the  Tories  was  still  hot;  and  it  was 
a  sustaining  power  for  the  court,  although  the  temper  of 
the  House  was  so  far  modified  that  in  that  body  a  bill  was 
passed  declaring  the  Treaty  the  law  of  the  land.  While 
the  lawyers  could  not  approve  of  the  court’s  action,  they 
did  not  sympathize  wholly  with  Hay.  At  the  close  of  the 
session  Hooper  wrote:  “This  ridiculous  pursuit  of  Hay’s 
ended  as  we  expected.  It  was  conceived  in  spleen,  and 
conducted  in  such  headstrong  passion,  that  after  the  charges 
were  made  evidence  was  wanting  to  support  them.”  But 
the  controversy  between  the  bar  and  the  bench  did  not 
subside.  Judge  Ashe’s  references  to  the  delinquencies  of 
the  bar  led  to  a  grave  reply  in  the  newspapers  by  Iredell, 
Johnston,  Davie,  Hooper  and  others.  To  this  he  made 
answer  stoutly  maintaining  his  former  criticism,  and  saying 
that  if  the  lawyers  thought  proper  to  withdraw  their  friend¬ 
ship  “I  should  have  no  objection,  for  that  I  was  independ¬ 
ent  in  principle,  in  person  and  in  purse,  and  should  neither 



court  their  love  nor  fear  their  enmity.”  For  years  the  hos¬ 
tility  continued,  the  lawyers  strenuously  endeavoring  to 
write  the  judges  off  the  bench. 

The  court  holds  an  act  of  Assembly  void 

Soon  after  this  trial,  at  the  May  term  of  the  court,  the 
motion  to  dismiss  the  case  at  New  Bern,  Bayard  v.  Single- 
ton ,  was  decided  by  the  judges,  and  denied,  Judge  Ashe 
saying:  “As  God  said  to  the  waters,  so  far  and  no  fur¬ 
ther  ;  so  said  the  people  to  the  Legislature  by  the  adoption  of 
the  Constitution.”  It  was  thus  determined  by  the  court 
that  the  judicial  power  was  independent  of  the  legislative 
power.  In  the  interval  between  the  terms,  the  court  in 
Rhode  Island  had  made  a  similar  declaration ;  but  the  re¬ 
fusal  of  the  judges  at  May  term,  .1786,  to  obey  the  Act 
of  Assembly  was  the  first  announcement  of  the  principle 
involved  by  any  court  in  any  of  the  states.  The  action 
was  widely  discussed,  but  eventually  was  accepted  by  the 
people  as  the  correct  interpretation  of  the  Constitution. 

Animated  by  patriotic  sentiments  the  Assembly  approved 
the  course  of  Governor  Caswell  in  appointing  representatives 
to  the  Annapolis  Conference.  The  necessity  of  enlarging 
the  powers  of  Congress  was  recognized,  and  in  an  act  re¬ 
citing  that  “this  State  has  ever  been  desirous  to  act  upon 
the  enlarged  system  of  the  general  good  of  the  United 
States,  without  bounding  its  views  to  the  narrow  and  selfish 
object  of  partial  convenience,”  the  Assembly  appointed  five 
commissioners  to  attend  the  convention  at  Philadelphia 
and  “to  decide  on  the  most  effectual  means  to  remove  the 
defects  of  the  Federal  system,  reporting  such  an  act  to  the 
General  Assembly  as  will  effectually  remedy  the  defects.” 
To  discharge  this  important  duty,  Governor  Caswell,  Alex¬ 
ander  Martin,  Davie,  Spaight  and  Willie  Jones  were  chosen ; 
and,  should  any  vacancies  occur,  the  Governor  was  author¬ 
ized  to  fill  them.  Of  these,  Martin,  Davie  and  Spaight  were 

Life  of 
Iredell,  601 


Moore  v. 
2  Hay. 

Tlie  Phila¬ 

S.  R.,  XXIV, 




S.  R., 
XVIII,  86 

S.  R.,  XXIV, 

Ibid.,  783 

Ibid.,  802 

favorable  to  some  changes  in  the  Articles  of  Confederation, 
as  also  was  Caswell.  Willie  Jones  may  not  have  been. 

Franklin  still  held 

Representations  were  made  in  behalf  of  the  State  of 
Franklin  and  were  patiently  heard.  But  the  Assembly  was 
not  of  a  mind  to  allow  the  western  counties  to  separate 
themselves  under  the  existing  conditions.  On  December 
14,  1786,  Elisha  Battle,  always  moderate  but  firm,  as  chair¬ 
man  of  a  select  committee,  made  a  report  to  the  Senate  deny¬ 
ing  immediate  separation,  but  promising  it  when  the  wealth 
and  number  of  the  inhabitants  should  justify  it.  In  the  mean¬ 
time  no  taxes  were  to  be  collected  for  the  period  of  the  inter¬ 
regnum  since  1784;  and  oblivion  and  pardon  were  offered, 
embracing  all  persons,  and  every  kind  of  offense  against  the 
government ;  and  the  civil  and  military  officers  in  office  in 
1784  were  continued  and  confirmed  in  their  respective  offices. 
To  give  further  relief  from  some  inconveniences,  Sullivan 
was  divided  and  the  county  of  Hawkins  was  created. 

Farther  to  the  west,  on  Cumberland  River,  Davidson 
County  was  likewise  divided  and  Sumner  County  erected ; 
and,  the  Indians  being  hostile,  a  military  force  of  three  com¬ 
panies  was  ordered  to  be  raised  for  the  protection  of  the  in¬ 
habitants  of  that  region ;  but  as  a  preliminary  the  command¬ 
ing  officer  was  to  open  a  good  road  from  Clinch  Mountain 
on  the  Watauga  to  Nashville,  for  as  yet  no  wheeled  vehicle 
had  passed  into  the  wilderness,  all  provisions  being  trans¬ 
ported  on  pack  horses. 

Slaves  not  to  be  imported  from  certain  states 

Some  notable  changes  were  inaugurated  in  State  polity. 
It  was  ordered  that  land  should  be  taxed  by  the  hundred 
acres,  instead  of  at  its  value;  the  jurisdiction  of  magis¬ 
trates  was  enlarged ;  and  the  Assembly,  resolving  that  the 
importation  of  slaves  “is  productive  of  evil  consequences 



and  highly  impolitic,”  laid  a  tax  on  their  importation,  and 
directed  that  all  slaves  brought  into  the  State  from  any 
state  that  had  passed  an  act  to  liberate  slaves  were  to  be 
returned  to  such  state  under  heavy  penalty.  At  that  period 
there  was  some  importation  of  slaves  from  foreign  parts, 
but  the  number  was  very  limited. 

At  the  previous  session  a  census  of  the  population  had 
been  ordered,  and  the  report  was  now  laid  before  the  As¬ 
sembly.  The  enumeration  had  been  imperfectly  made,  but 
it  indicated  a  population  in  eighteen  counties  of  105,213. 
It  showed  a  more  considerable  population  in  the  counties 
bordering  on  Virginia  than  elsewhere,  the  results  being 
similar  to  the  subsequent  census  of  1790. 

Delegates  in  Congress 

The  Continental  Congress  was  then  holding  its  sessions 
at  New  York;  but  the  North  Carolina  delegates  were  not 
in  attendance,  and  for  months  the  State  was  not  repre¬ 
sented.  The  delegates  elected  for  the  year  1786  were  Nash, 
Blount,  Burton,  Charles  Johnson,  Timothy  Bloodworth  and 
Nathaniel  Macon.  Macon,  however,  resigned  without  at¬ 
tending  the  Congress  at  all.  The  expense  was  so  burden¬ 
some  that  the  position,  while  one  of  honor,  was  undesirable, 
and  Macon  declined  because  the  provision  for  his  support 
was  inadequate.  Bloodworth  tried  to  sustain  himself  by  a 
shipment  of  tar  to  New  York,  but  losing  money  by  the 
venture,  also  resigned.  Nash  died  at  his  post,  and  Charles 
Johnson  resigned.  Cummings  and  White,  Benjamin  Haw¬ 
kins  and  John  B.  Ashe  were  chosen  to  fill  the  vacancies. 
They  sought  to  so  arrange  it  that  one  or  more  should  be 
in  attendance  until  relieved,  for  none  could  long  stand  the 
expense.  On  January  7,  1787,  the  Assembly  brought  to  a 
close  this  session  which,  in  many  respects,  was  marked  by 
more  excitement  than  any  other  of  that  period. 


S.  R.,  XXIV, 

The  census 

S.  R.,  XX, 







The  state  trial 

Two  weeks  after  the  Assembly  rose  the  court  met  at 
Warrenton  to  try  the  “state  prisoners/’  chief  among  whom 
were  McCulloh  and  Montford,  while  the  many  persons  im¬ 
plicated  touched  society  in  almost  every  part  of  the  State. 
The  profound  interest  of  the  public,  the  gravity  of  the 
accusations,  and  the  anxiety  of  the  friends  of  the  accused, 
invested  the  trial  with  an  importance  never  before  equaled 
in  North  Carolina.  Alfred  Moore,  the  Attorney-General, 
prosecuted ;  Iredell  and  Davie  defended ;  and  the  surrounding 
circumstances  stimulated  the  counsel  to  the  most  brilliant 
display  of  forensic  eloquence.  Describing  two  of  these 
rivals  for  fame,  Murphey  has  said :  “Moore  was  a  small 
man,  neat  in  his  dress  and  graceful  in  his  manners ;  his 
voice  was  clear  and  sonorous ;  his  perceptions  quick ;  his 
judgment  almost  intuitive;  his  style  was  chaste  and  his 
manner  of  speaking  animated — He  spoke  with  ease  and 
with  force,  enlivened  his  discourses  with  flashes  of  wit,  and, 
when  the  subject  required  it,  with  all  the  bitterness  of 
sarcasm.  .  .  .  Davie  was  a  tall,  elegant  man  in  his  person, 
graceful  and  commanding  in  his  manners ;  his  voice  was 
mellow  and  adapted  to  every  passion;  his  mind  compre¬ 
hensive,  yet  slow  in  its  operations  when  compared  with 
his  great  rival.  His  style  was  magnificent  and  flowing; 
and  he  had  a  greatness  of  manner  in  public  speaking  which 
suited  his  style  and  gave  to  his  speeches  an  imposing 
effect.  While  Davie  ranked  as  one  of  the  first  orators 
Moore  was  held  one  of  the  first  advocates  of  America.” 
All  of  these  contestants  were  well  trained  in  every  art  of 
legal  warfare.  In  the  management  of  the  defense  Iredell, 
superior  to  either  Davie  or  Moore  in  many  respects,  per¬ 
formed  his  part  with  credit  and  renown.  Every  year  of  his 
life  he  attained  a  higher  eminence  in  his  profession,  and 
at  length,  differing  with  his  associates  on  the  Supreme 
Court  bench,  his  views  were  engrafted  into  the  Constitu- 



tion  of  the  United  States,  an  enduring  monument.  Hun¬ 
dreds  of  persons  were  in  attendance  at  the  trial  and  all  eyes 
were  fixed  on  the  great  drama  being  enacted  at  Warrenton. 

For  nearly  a  month  the  court  was  in  session.  Henry 
Montford  was  acquitted,  but  Benjamin  McCulloh,  John 
Sheppard,  John  McNeer,  John  Price,  William  Faircloth, 

Thomas  Butcher,  James  Holmes,  McCarthy,  Mann,  Phil¬ 
lips  and  several  others  were  convicted.  A  fine  sufficed  as 
punishment  for  all  but  McCulloch  and  Sheppard.  The 
former  in  addition  to  a  fine  of  4,000  pounds,  was  sentenced 
to  be  confined  in  Warrenton  jail  for  twelve  months;  but 
at  the  end  of  eleven  months  because  of  his  ill  health,  he 
was  allowed  his  liberty..  It  was,  however,  said  that  he  was 
a  victim  to  the  indignation  and  resentment  of  the  people, 
and  that  he  was  charged  beyond  his  real  offense.  His 
brother-in-law,  John  Stokes,  wrote:  “I  wish  I  was  igno-  f 
rant  of  it.  I  think  of  it  by  day ;  it  is  represented  to  me  iredeii,  157 
in  my  dreams,  which  are  wont  to  make  it  nothing  but  a 
phantom.  The  blushing  morn  establishes  the  reality  and 
renews  my  grief.” 


The  State  of  Franklin 

Caswell’s  policy  with  respect  to  the  Franks. — Sevier  and  Shelby 
make  an  agreement. — The  Franklin  Assembly  repudiates  the 
action,  and  proposes  to  suppress  all  North  Carolina  authority. — 
Caswell  urges  moderation. — Indian  war  on  the  frontier. — Major 
Evans’s  expedition  to  the  Cumberland.  The  disintegration  of 
Franklin  begins. — Representatives  elected  to  North  Carolina  As¬ 
sembly. — The  clashing  in  Washington  County. — Sevier  engages  in 
war  with  the  Creeks. — The  last  Assembly  of  the  fading  State. — 
Delegates  chosen  on  behalf  of  Franklin. — The  Assembly  meets  at 
Tarborough. — The  act  of  pardon  extended. — The  policy  of  concilia¬ 
tion  bears  fruit. — The  seizure  of  Sevier’s  negroes  by  local  officers. 
— He  attempts  their  rescue. — Tipton  defies  him. — His  embarrass¬ 
ment. — Maxwell’s  militia  arrives. — The  collision. — The  Franks  re¬ 
tire. — Sevier  to  the  frontier. — General  Martin  secures  submission. 
— Sevier  invades  Indian  territory. — Governor  Johnston  suggests 
arrest  of  Sevier. — Judge  Spencer  issues  the  warrant.  He  is  ar¬ 
rested. — Is  conveyed  to  Morganton. — Escapes. — The  act  of  pardon 
again  extended, — Sevier  declared  ineligible  to  office,  but  other¬ 
wise  pardoned. — The  Convention  at  Greenville. — Sevier  elected  to 
North  Carolina  Assembly  August,  1789. — His  disability  removed. — 
He  takes  his  seat. — The  end  of  Franklin. 

Hardly  had  the  spectacular  trial  of  the  state  prisoners 
closed  at  Warrenton  before  conditions  at  the  west,  becoming 
more  acute,  claimed  Governor  Caswell’s  anxious  attention, 
st  r.,  xxii,  Qashing  between  the  two  courts  and  the  county  officers 
was  inevitable.  To  avert  trouble,  in  March  General  Evan 
Shelby,  acting  in  behalf  of  those  adhering  to  North  Carolina, 
and  Governor  Sevier  entered  into  an  agreement  that  while 
the  respective  courts  might  try  criminal  cases  they  should 
not  proceed  to  any  civil  business  except  to  prove  wills  and 
deeds,  and  that  the  inhabitants  might  pay  their  taxes  either 
to  North  Carolina  or  to  the  State  of  Franklin  as  they 
might  select:  and  further,  that  the  sheriffs  and  jailers  under 
the  Franklin  government  should  receive  felons  committed 
by  North  Carolina  courts.  This  agreement,  tolerating  North 
Carolina  authority,  was,  however,  immediately  repudiated 
by  the  Franklin  Fegislature,  then  in  session.  That  body, 



rejecting  every  purpose  of  temporizing,  acted  with  vigor  ^ 

and  vehemence.  It  passed  an  act  punishing  with  fine  and 
imprisonment  any  person  who  should  act  as  a  magistrate, 
or  in  any  other  civil  capacity,  under  the  authority  of  North 
Carolina,  and  it  directed  the  Governor  to  raise  the  militia 
and  oppose  by  force  the  operation  of  any  North  Carolina 
law,  authorizing  a  bounty  of  400  acres  of  land  to  those 
who  would  enlist;  and,  to  draw  the  wavering  to  their  side, 
a  land  office  was  opened  where  grants  were  to  be  obtained 
on  very  easy  terms.  Sevier’s  attitude,  which  had  been 
moderate,  now  was  completely  changed.  He  wrote  to  Cas¬ 
well  :  “We  shall  continue  to  act  independent  and  would 
rather  sufifer  death,  in  all  its  various  and  frightful  shapes, 
than  conform  to  anything  that  is  disgraceful.”  The  pur-  R  xxn 
pose  to  maintain  independence  was  fixed  and  strong,  while  680 
those  who  adhered  to  North  Carolina  were  equally  reso¬ 
lute  and  determined.  The  division  between  the  two  parties 
among  the  inhabitants  was  clearly  drawn,  and  the  circum¬ 
stances  of  every  day  intensified  the  estrangement.  Toler¬ 
ation  gave  way  to  bitterness.  In,  May  the  situation  was 
so  acute  that  General  Shelby  notified  Caswell  that  hostili¬ 
ties  were  about  to  begin,  and  unless  the  government  inter¬ 
fered,  bloodshed  would  at  once  take  place.  It  was  no 
part  of  Caswell’s  policy  to  precipitate  a  situation  where  he 
would  have  to  subjugate  the  inhabitants,  although  in 
revolt.  He  hastened  to  urge  the  officers  holding  North 
Carolina  commissions  to  use  the  utmost  moderation.  To 
dampen  their  ardor  and  restrain  their  action,  he  declared  ibid.,  686 
that  he  could  not  send  them  any  assistance,  and  he  begged 
them  not  to  engage  in  a  civil  war.  His  information  was 
conflicting.  David  Campbell  assured  him  that  nineteen- 
twentieths  of  ithe  inhabitants  favored  separation,  while 
Thomas  Hutchins  reported  that,  although  the  people  of 
Greene  were  much  divided,  in  the  other  two  counties  two- 
thirds  were  willing  to  return  to  their  allegiance.  In  the 
meantime  the  force,  which  the  Assembly  had  directed  to 





S.  R.,  XX, 

be  raised  to  cut  the  road  to  Davidson,  was  being  recruited ; 
and  Colonel  James  Martin,  the  Indian  agent,  went  among 
the  Indians  to  prevail  on  them  to  desist  from  hostilities. 
At  length,  towards  the  close  of  April,  General  Shelby 
called  together  Tipton,  Maxwell  and  Hutchins,  the  colonels 
of  the  three  counties,  and  they  united  in  urging  that  the 
only  hope  of  averting  bloodshed  was  for  North  Carolina 
to  send  from  Burke  a  thousand  men  to  uphold  her  authority. 
Intent  on  the  supremacy  of  their  faction  and  on  the  sup¬ 
pression  of  their  opponents,  they  sought  to  strengthen  their 
cause  by  a  display  of  force  that  would  deter  the  Franks 
from  persisting  in  their  defiance.  But  it  must  not  be  for¬ 
gotten  that  they  held  commissions  from  the  State  charging 
them  with  the  duty  of  upholding  and  maintaining  her  su¬ 
premacy.  Caswell,  however,  relied  on  gentler  means  of 
persuasion  and  hoped  for  the  healing  influence  of  time.  In 
the  meanwhile,  farther  in  the  interior  the  savages  were 
murdering  the  settlers.  The  Mississippi  was  claimed  by  the 
Spaniards,  who,  from  their  stronghold  at  Mobile,  had  free 
communication  with  the  tribes  in  the  interior ;  while  the 
Frenchmen  on  the  upper  Mississippi  had  trade  relations 
with  the  Indians,  which  bred  a  jealousy  of  the  encroaching 
pioneers.  The  savages  were  thus  influenced  to  continue 
warfare.  In  June,  from  the  Cumberland  came  a  cry  for 
immediate  help.  Anthony  Bledsoe  wrote:  “Nothing  but 
the  distress  of  a  bleeding  country  could  induce  me  to  trouble 
you  on  so  disagreeable  a  subject — Enclosed  you  have  a  list 
of  the  killed  in  this  quarter  since  our  departure  from  this 
country  to  the  Assembly.  This,  with  the  numbers  wounded, 
with  the  large  numbers  of  horses  stolen  from  the  inhabi¬ 
tants,  has  in  a  degree,  flagged  the  spirits  of  the  people/’ 
And  the  next  month,  James  Robertson  advised  Governor 
Caswell  that  there  had  been  a  hot  war  with  the  Chickamauga 
Indians;  that  he  had  raised  130  men  and  gone  to  the  front, 
where  he  found  that  the  Indians  had  been  joined  by  French- 

Ibid.,  731 



men  from  Detroit  who  were  inflaming  them  to  hostility. 
In  one  of  the  encounters,  three  Frenchmen  and  a  French 
woman  had  been  killed.  He  urged  the  Governor  to  hurry 
on  the  force  the  Assembly  had  ordered  for  their  protection. 
The  commander  of  that  detachment,  Major  Thomas  Evans, 
had  met  with  such  obstacles  that  the  middle  of  August  found 
him  still  east  of  the  Blue  Ridge,  and  Caswell  indignantly 
ordered  him  to  proceed,  not  delaying  to  open  the  road  to 
Nashville  but  pressing  on  to  the  relief  of  the  people.  Evans, 
however,  could  not  scale  the  Alleghany  Mountains.  Di¬ 
verted  from  the  direct  course,  he  passed  through  Cumber¬ 
land  Gap  and  made  his  way  into  Kentucky,  his  men  cheer¬ 
fully  enduring  their  march  through  the  wilderness  where 
no  supplies  could  be  obtained.  In  Kentucky  he  could  pur¬ 
chase  no  provisions  either  on  public  or  private  credit,  and 
was  driven  to  furlough  his  men  until  by  their  labor  they 
could  procure  sufficient  food  to  last  them  to  Nashville.  At 
length,  in  the  middle  of  October  he  reached  Davidson 
County  after  a  toilsome  journey  of  400  miles.  There  he 
found  the  inhabitants  were  being  daily  murdered,  and  he 
hurried  advices  home  that  he  himself  was  hourly  expecting 

While  such  was  the  critical  condition  on  the  Cumberland, 
on  the  Watauga  influences  were  silently  at  work  under¬ 
mining  the  foundations  of  the  new  State.  The  moderation 
and  firmness  of  the  North  Carolina  Assembly,  its  tender  of 
oblivion  and  remission  of  taxes,  together  with  the  hope 
held  out  of  eventual  consent  to  the  separation,  had  a  soft¬ 
ening  influence  on  the  public  mind.  But  for  a  period  there 
was  so  much  bitterness,  and  the  current  was  so  strong  for 
separation  that  General  Shelby  himself  yielded  to  it,  re¬ 
signed  his  commission  as  brigadier,  retired  from  the  service 
of  North  Carolina,  and  recommended  to  Governor  Caswell 
that  separation  should  be  conceded.  Yet  notwithstanding 
his  defection,  and  despite  the  strenuous  efforts  of  Sevier 
to  sustain  his  government,  the  enthusiasm  that  had  at- 


Indian  war 

S.  R.,  XX, 

The  end 



Aug.  1787 

The  election 

S.  R„  XX, 
120,  302 



tended  the  first  movements  for  independence  gradually  dis¬ 
appeared.  When  the  August  elections  came  on,  only  two 
counties  failed  to  elect  representatives  to  the  North  Caro¬ 
lina  Assembly.  In  Greene,  David  Campbell,  the  presiding 
judge  of  Franklin  State,  and  in  Washington,  where  the 
Sevier  party  had  been  strong,  Colonel  Tipton  were  elected 
to  the  Senate.  Sullivan  elected  General  Joseph  Martin, 
and  Hawkins  sent  to  the  House  of  Commons  Henderson  and 
Marshall ;  all  of  whom  and  their  colleagues  had  at  one  time 
been  adherents  of  the  new  State.  Only  Sevier  and  Caswell 
counties,  well  on  the  frontier — where  land  had  been  occupied 
contrary  to  the  North  Carolina  laws,  stood  faithful.  The 
former  lay  between  the  Little  Tennessee  and  the  French 
Broad,  within  the  Indian  reservation,  where  more  than  i,ooo 
families  had  located,  and  the  latter  in  the  forks  of  the 
French  Broad  and  Holston.  Still  there  were  many  who 
yet  adhered  to  Franklin;  and  in  all  the  counties  conflicts 
were  continually,  arising  between  the  courts  held  under 
the  authority  of  the  two  different  states.  In  Washington 
County  particularly  these  clashings  reached  a  great  height, 
being  colored  by  personal  enmity  as  well  as  political  antag¬ 
onism.  In  that  county  resided  both  Governor  Sevier  and 
Col.  John  Tipton,  neighbors  and  once  friends;  but  when 
on  the  repeal  of  the  Act  of  Cession  Colonel  Tipton  aban¬ 
doned  the  new  government  which  he  had  aided  to  frame 
and  renewed  his  allegiance  to  North  Carolina  withdrawing 
his  support  from  Governor  Sevier,  a  bitter  personal  feud 
sprang  up  between  them.  And  this  was  intensified  by  the 
circumstance  that  while  Colonel  Tipton  was  the  clerk  of 
the  North  Carolina  county  court,  James  Sevier  a  son  of 
the  Governor,  became  clerk  of  the  Franklin  court,  and 
each  dominated  the  justices  and  officers  of  their  respective 
courts.  In  August,  1787,  Colonel  Tipton,  at  the  head  of 
some  fifty  men,  undertook  to  take  the  records  of  the  Frank¬ 
lin  court,  and  quickly  two  hundred  of  the  Franks  embodied 
to  oppose  him.  A  rumor  was  that  their  purpose  was  to 



seize  Governor  Sevier,  and  fifteen  hundred  of  his  follow¬ 
ers  rushed  to  protect  him.  The  error,  however,  was  made 
known,  and  no  blood  was  shed ;  but  there  were  personal 
encounters  between  Tipton  and  the  Seviers. 

About  that  time  Governor  Sevier,  seeing  that  the  tide 
was  turning  against  the  continuance  of  his  government,  de¬ 
termined  on  strengthening  his  cause  with  the  people  by 
prosecuting  an  Indian  war.  Far  to  .the  south  the  Creeks 
were  giving  trouble,  and  Governor  Sevier  entered  into  ar¬ 
rangements  with  the  Governor  of  Georgia  for  their  con¬ 
quest.  In  September,  with  some  difficulty,  a  quorum  of 
the  Franklin  Assembly  met  at  Greenville,  but  confidence  in 
the  new  State  had  ebbed  so  fast  that  Sevier  was  able  to 
secure  the  passage  of  an  act  providing  the  means  for  carry¬ 
ing  on  the  projected  war  only  by  a  compromise.  He  agreed 
that  two  delegates  might  be  chosen  to  attend  the  North 
Carolina  Assembly  and  make  such  representations  as  they 
should  think  proper.  Judge  Campbell  and  Landon  Carter 
were  elected  delegates  for  this  purpose,  the  former  having 
been  already  chosen  to  represent  Greene  County  in  the 
North  Carolina  Assembly.  This  action  indicated  that  the 
last  stage  was  being  reached  in  the  existence  of  the  new 
State.  Gradually  the  commonwealth  of  Franklin  was  pas¬ 
sing  away.  Hardly  had  its  Assembly  adjourned,  and  it 
was  the  last  Assembly  of  Franklin  that  met,  before  Gover¬ 
nor  Sevier  began  to  prepare  for  his  campaign.  In  the  great 
bend  of  the  Tennessee,  in  the  Creek  country,  lay  some  very 
desirable  land,  and  it  was  arranged  that  this  should  be  re¬ 
served  for  the  Franklin  volunteers.  On  November  28 
Governor  Sevier  announced  that  every  private  should  have 
640  acres  in  the  great  bend,  and  officers  in  proportion ;  and 
the  work  of  enlistment  went  briskly  on. 

The  North  Carolina  Assembly 

The  General  Assembly  met  at  Tarboro  on  November  19, 
and  both  the  representatives  elected  by  the  counties  beyond 

Sept.  1787 

Ramsay : 
Hist,  of 



Ibid.,  389 




Sept.  1787 

S.  R.,  XX, 

Ibid.,  225 

Ibid.,  235 



the  mountains,  and  the  delegates  chosen  by  the  Legislature 
of  Franklin,  attended  the  session.  The  former  were  admit¬ 
ted  to  seats,  and  the  latter  given  a  respectful  hearing  when 
they  urged  the  continued  desire  of  the  people  for  separation. 
The  Assembly,  however,  held  steadfast  to  its  purpose. 
James  Martin  was  appointed  brigadier  of  the  district,  and 
a  special  committee  was  directed  to  report  measures  to  quiet 
the  disorders  in  the  western  counties.  They  advised  a  fur¬ 
ther  extension  of  the  act  of  pardon,  and  that  all  suits  for 
nonpayment  of  taxes  should  be  discontinued ;  and  these 
measures  were  adopted.  The  policy  of  moderation  and  con¬ 
ciliation  was  bearing  its  fruits  and  North  Carolina  was 
supplanting  the  State  of  Franklin  whose  Legislature  had 
ceased  to  exist,  whose  judicial  officers  were  no  longer  act¬ 
ing,  and  whose  executive  after  March  would  have  no  claim 
for  the  exercise  of  authority.  Governor  Sevier’s  term  was 
to  end  on  March  3,  and  no  successor  had  been  chosen; 
and,  there  being  no  Assembly,  none  could  be  chosen.  The 
State  of  Franklin  was  about  to  expire  by  a  natural  dissolu¬ 
tion,  and  without  any  great  convulsion  or  bloodshed.  But 
now  an  incident  occurred  attended  by  unfortunate 

During  the  fall  of  1787  a  judgment  having  been  obtained 
against  Governor  Sevier  in  one  of  the  North  Carolina 
courts,  an  execution  against  his  property  was  put  in  the 
hands  of  the  sheriff.  The  levy  was  made  on  some  of  his 
negroes  on  his  plantation,  and  for  fear  of  interference,  the 
sheriff  removed  the  negroes  to  the  premises  of  Colonel 
Tipton  for  safe  keeping.  It  was  a  great  error  in  judgment 
and  an  improper  exercise  of  power.  Necessarily  it  in¬ 
flamed  Governor  Sevier  and  was  a  personal  affront  that  he 
would  not  brook.  Had  no  such  incident  occurred  the  State 
of  Franklin  would  probably  have  faded  away,  leaving,  doubt¬ 
less,  a  memory  of  disappointment  but  without  pangs  of  bit-  - 
terness.  At  the  moment,  Sevier  was  in  Greene  County  col¬ 
lecting  volunteers  for  the  expedition  against  the  Creeks. 



O11  learning  of  this  seizure  of  his  property  and  the  removal 
of  his  negroes  to  the  premises  of  Colonel  Tipton,  he  dis¬ 
patched  a  messenger  to  Caswell  County,  February  15,  say¬ 
ing  that  the  Tipton  party  had  got  very  insolent  and  that 
he  had  ordered  fifteen  men  out  of  every,  company  to  turn 
out.  He  was  “satisfied  that  a  small  exertion  will  settle  the 
matter  to  our  satisfaction.”  Tipton,  on  being  informed 
of  Sevier’s  action,  wrote  on  February  25  :  “The  rebels  are 
again  rising.  Sevier  is  now  making  his  last  effort.  This 
day  they  are  to  meet  at  Greene.  Tomorrow  at  Jonesboro, 
and  Wednesday,  if  not  before,  they  push  here.”  And  he 
called  for  aid.  A  few  friends  reached  him  in  time.  But 
soon  the  Governor  with  150  men  and  a  small  cannon  ap¬ 
peared  on  the  scene  and  demanded  an  unconditional  sur¬ 
render.  Tipton  valiantly  defied  him.  Truly  Sevier’s  situ¬ 
ation  was  embarrassing.  He  had  no  desire  for  bloodshed. 
His  commission  as  Governor  was  to  expire  within  three 
days,  and  his  State  had  virtually  ceased  to  exist.  Stigmatized 
as  a  rebel  by  the  Carolina  officers,  he  doubtless  com¬ 
prehended  that  to  use  military  force  against  the  Carolina 
authorities  placed  in  jeopardy  the  lives  of  himself  and  his 
followers.  It  was  levying  war  and  high  treason.  For 
nearly  four  years  two  conflicting  governments  had  been 
carried  on  in  that  wilderness ;  and  despite  personal  enmities, 
despite  the  clashing  of  the  courts  and  the  antagonistic  au¬ 
thority  of  the  militia  officers,  there  had  been  no  serious 
collision.  This  of  itself  is  high  evidence  of  the  wisdom, 
courage  and  moderation  of  Sevier,  as  well  as  of  the  for¬ 
bearance  of  the  inhabitants  generally.  Now  circumstances 
springing  from  his  personal  affairs  brought  the  Governor 
face  to  face  with  an  emergency  threatening  bloodshed. 
He  had  probably  hoped  to  redress  his  wrongs  by  a  show 
of  superior  strength ;  but  a  hard  fate  had  brought  him 
into  a  position  from  which  he  could  not  retreat  with  credit, 
nor  proceed  without  hazarding  consequences  for  which  he 
had  no  heart.  He  became  a  prey  to  conflicting  emotions — - 

Feb.  1788 

Sevier  arms 





sad  and  dejected.  There  was  no  assault  made  on  the 
house ;  but  some  firing  took  place,  not  in  Sevier’s  presence. 
Those  passing  into  Tipton’s  premises  were  fired  on,  and 
one  or  two  killed  and  wounded,  but  there  was  no  engage¬ 
ment.  At  length,  in  the  early  morning  of  February  29, 
Colonel  Maxwell,  of  Sullivan  County,  to  whom  Tipton  had 
appealed  for  aid,  approached  with  his  militia.  He  had  made 
a  night  march.  The  weather  was  very  cold,  and  there  was 
a  blinding  snow  storm.  As  he  neared  the  scene  about 
sunrise,  Maxwell  saw  Sevier’s  men  advancing  and  a  col¬ 
lision  occurred.  Maxwell's  militia  discharged  a  volley 
and  raised  a  great  shout,  which  led  Tipton  to  sally  out,  tak¬ 
ing  Sevier’s  party  in  the  rear  or  flank.  As  it  probably  had 
never  been  Sevier’s  purpose  to  engage  in  battle,  he  and 
his  men  quickly  dispersed,  followed,  but  not  aggressively, 
by  the  militia.  On  March  3  Sevier  sent  a  verbal  message 
that  if  his  life  was  spared,  he  would  submit  to  North  Caro¬ 
lina.  Tipton,  in  reply,  offered  to  cease  hostilities,  giving 
Sevier  and  his  party  until  the  nth  to  submit  to  the  laws. 
The  council  of  the  Franklin  State  replied  that  they  would 
be  obedient  to  the  laws  of  the  Union,  and  they  wished  a 
convention  of  the  people  called  at  once.  As  for  Governor 
Sevier,  they  stipulated  that  he  should  be  left  at  liberty 
to  act  for  himself ;  and  he,  with  some  anxiety,  required  a 
plain  understanding  as  to  what  he  could  depend  on.  Ten 
days  later  Gen.  Joseph  Martin,  the  brigadier  of  the  district, 
appealed  to  General  Kennedy  to  bring  about  a  reconciliation. 
He  declared  that  he  would  be  sorry  to  imbrue  his  hands 
in  the  blood  of  his  countrymen,  but  ‘'nothing  will  do  but 
a  submission  to  the  laws  of  North  Carolina.”  This  is  the 
only  way,  he  urged,  that  would  relieve  Governor  Sevier 
from  a  very  disagreeable  situation.  He  offered  Kennedy 
a  commission  under  North  Carolina,  and  urged  him  to 
prepare  for  action,  as  a  general  Indian  war  was  expected. 
Martin’s  conciliatory  steps  and  firm  action  had  a  very  sal- 



utary  effect.  All  opposition  ceased.  Every  trace  of  the 
State  of  Franklin  disappeared. 

In  the  meantime  Sevier,  no  longer  governor,  left  Wash¬ 
ington  County  and  took  shelter  in  the  distant  settlements. 
A  period  of  repose  now  set  in;  but  in  June  Sevier,  having 
gathered  some  forty  bold  and  daring  men,  fell  on  the  Hi- 
wassees  and  killed  twenty  of  them,  following  this  with  an¬ 
other  raid  and  bringing  in  fourteen  scalps ;  and  then,  in 
July,  he  made  a  third  invasion  of  the  Indian  country  which 
precipitated  an  Indian  war. 

Notwithstanding  that  the  State  of  Franklin  had  fallen, 
Sevier  and  his  friends  indulged  a  hope  that  the  State  Con¬ 
vention,  which  was  to  meet  at  Hillsboro  in  July  to  consider 
the  proposed  Federal  Constitution  might  cede  the  western 
territory,  or  otherwise  provide  for  a  separation,  but  that 
body  adjourned  without  action  favorable  to  their  desires. 
On  the  other  hand  Governor  Johnston,  because  of  advices 
from  General  Martin,  called  his  Council  to  meet  at  Hills¬ 
boro  in  July;  and,  on  receiving  information  of  Sevier’s  bat¬ 
tle  with  Maxwell,  while  the  Convention  was  still  in  ses¬ 
sion,  he  wrote  to  Judge  Campbell:  “It  has  been  represented 
to  the  Executive  that  John  Sevier,  who  styles  himself  Cap¬ 
tain  General  of  the  State  of  Franklin,  has  been  guilty  of 
high  treason  in  levying  troops  to  oppose  the  laws  and  gov¬ 
ernment  of  this  State,  and  has  with  an  armed  force  put  to 
death  several  good  citizens.  If  these  facts  shall  appear 
to  you  .by  the  affidavit  of  credible  persons,  you  will  issue 
your  warrant  to  apprehend  him.”  Judge  Campbell,  how¬ 
ever,  took  no  action.  Eater,  Judge  Samuel  Spencer  crossed 
the  mountains  to  hold  court  at  Jonesboro,  and  he  issued 
a  warrant  for  the  arrest  of  Sevier.  On  the  evening  of 
October  9  Sevier  with  a  number  of  men  had  a  violent  al¬ 
tercation  with  one  Deadricks  in  Washington  County,  and 
Colonel  Tipton,  armed  with  the  bench  warrant  and  doubt¬ 
less  feeling  that  his  hour  of  triumph  had  arrived,  hastened 
in  pursuit  with  a  body  of  horsemen.  At  early  dawn  the 

July  1788 

passes  away 






Sevier  taken 

He  escapes 

Nov.  1788 

S.  R.,  XXIV, 

S.  R.,  XXI, 

posse  surrounded  the  premises  of  widow  Brown,  where 
Sevier  lodged  that  night,  and  at  sunrise  the  arrest  was  made. 
Sevier  was  taken  to  Jonesboro,  and  then  was  conveyed  to 
Morganton  for  trial.  It  is  said  that  he  was  treated  with 
great  discourtesy  and  malevolence,  and  for  a  time  was 
subjected  to  the  indignity  of  being  handcuffed;  but  the 
details  are  obscure,  and  the  circumstances  were  such  as  to 
require  unusual  care  on  the  part  of  those  charged  with 
his  safekeeping.  In  a  letter  to  the  General  Assembly  he 
alleged  that  he  “was  treated  with  wanton  cruelty  and  savage 
insult,”  and  he  complained  of  being  “borne  off  out  of  the 
district”  for  trial.  Arrived  at  Morganton  he  was  released 
on  parole  to  visit  a  brother-in-law  in  the  vicinity.  The  court 
being  convened,  he  attended  agreeably  to  his  parole.  In 
the  meantime,  two  sons  and  other  friends  had  followed  to 
rescue  him.  “At  night,  when  the  court  broke,  and  the 
people  dispersed,  they  with  the  Governor  pushed  forward 
towards  the  mountains  with  the  greatest  rapidity  and, 
before  morning,  arrived  at  them,  and  were  beyond  the 
reach  of  any  who  might  think  proper  to  pursue.”  Appar¬ 
ently  no  further  effort  was  made  to  capture  him.  At  the 
November  session  of  the  Assembly  the  act  of  pardon  and 
oblivion  was  again  passed,  but  it  was  provided  that  Sevier 
was  so  far  excepted  that  he  should  not  be  entitled  to  hold 
any  office  under  the  State. 

Congress  and  the  states  of  Georgia  and  North  Carolina 
had  taken  measures  with  the  view  of  quieting  the  hostility 
of  the  Indians ;  and  on  a  conference  they  agreed  to  peace. 
But  shortly  afterwards  Sevier  with  a  party  of  men  went 
into  one  of  their  towns,  all  the  braves  being  off  on  a  hunt, 
and  brought  away  twenty-nine  women  and  children ;  and 
the  people  on  the  frontier  realized  the  necessity  of  protect¬ 
ing  themselves. 

On  the  1 2th  of  January,  1789,  at  a  convention  held  in 
Greene  County  it  was  resolved  to  petition  North  Carolina  to 
divide  the  State  and  cede  the  territory  west  of  the  mountains 



to  Congress;  and  that  John  Sevier  keep  the  command  of  the 
inhabitants.  On  being  informed  of  these  proceedings  Gov¬ 
ernor  Johnston  wrote  to  Martin  that  "Sevier  appears  to  be 
incorrigible  and  I  fear  we  will  have  no  peace  in  your  quar¬ 
ter  till  he  is  proceeded  against  to  the  last  extremity” ;  but 
he  urged  Martin  to  act  with  prudence  and  conciliation  both 
in  regard  to  the  inhabitants  and  the  Indians. 

At  the  August  election,  however,  Sevier  abandoned  his 
opposition  to  the  State  of  North  Carolina.  He  was  elected 
to  the  State  Senate ;  and  appeared  along  with  the  other 
members  when  in  November  the  Assembly  met  at  Fayette¬ 
ville.  His  disabilities  had  not  been  removed ;  but  during 
the  session  he  filed  a  memorial.  On  November  30  a  commit¬ 
tee  reported  that  when  the  people  of  the  western  counties 
first  attempted  to  subvert  the  government,  Sevier  opposed 
them  and  prevented  elections  from  being  held  in  two  of  the 
counties,  and  that  he  was  not  as  highly  reprehensible  as 
many  others.  A  bill  was  therefore  passed  including  him 
in  the  general  pardon;  and  further  it  was  declared  that  he 
still  held  the  office  of  brigadier  general  under  his  original 
appointment  in  1784.  And  thus  the  last  vestige  of  the 
State  of  Franklin  was  by  conciliation  and  moderation 
buried  out  of  sight  without  any  punishment  of  any  person 
for  the  offense  of  insurrection. 


S.  R.,  XXI, 

Ibid.,  537 

Ibid.,  616 

Nov.,  1789 




New  Government  Proposed 

The  Philadelphia  Convention. — Virginia  proposes  a  national 
government. — North  Carolina  delegates  assent. — New  Jersey 
seeks  to  amend  the  old  Articles. — Hamilton’s  plan. — The  dead¬ 
lock. — North  Carolina  votes  with  the  small  states  and  secures 
state  equality  in  the  Senate. — Her  delegates  act  with  unanimity. 
— Caswell  urges  a  national  government. — Davie  and  Martin  re¬ 
turn  home. — The  word  “National”  freely  used  in  rough  draft. — 
By  the  vote  of  Massachusetts  importation  of  slaves  allowed  until 
1808. — On  revision  word  “National”  eliminated. — Advocates  of  the 
Constitution  called  Federalists. — The  instrument  signed. — The 
exposition  given  by  Blount,  Spaight  and  Williamson. — The  im¬ 
portant  action  of  the  North  Carolina  delegation. — The  August 
elections. — The  Federals  successful. — The  Assembly  meets  at 
Tarborough. — The  Treaty  of  Peace  declared  the  law  of  the  land. 
— Iredell  appointed  to  revise  the  laws. — The  Legislature  recom¬ 
mends  the  pardon  of  Bradley,  and  of  those  convicted  of  fraud 
against  the  State. — Convention  called  to  consider  proposed  Con¬ 
stitution. — Raleigh  Inlet. — Samuel  Johnston  elected  Governor. — 
Atmore’s  visit. — Washington,  Tarborough,  New  Bern. — The  As¬ 
sembly  at  Tarborough. — Willis. — -Lumberton. — No  mails.— Books. 


S.  R.,  XX, 

Ibid.,  611 

Ibid.,  129 

Framing-  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States 

In  February,  Congress,  responsive  to  the  recommenda¬ 
tion  of  the  Annapolis  Conference,  adopted  a  resolution  ad¬ 
vising  the  states  that  it  was  expedient  that  a  convention 
should  be  held  at  Philadelphia  in  May,  for  the  sole  and 
express  purpose  of  revising  the  Articles  of  Confederation 
and  reporting  such  alterations  and  provisions  as  should  be 
adequate  to  the  exigency  of  government  and  the  preser¬ 
vation  of  the  Union.  As  we  have  seen  the  North  Carolina 
Assembly  appointed  delegates  to  attend  the  proposed  con¬ 
vention.  Willie  Jones  found  that  he  could  not  attend  at  the 
time  appointed,  and  he  requested  that  some  person  “should 
be  appointed  in  my  place  as  a  matter  of  so  much  importance 
must  necessarily  require  the  fullest  representation.”  Nor 
could  Caswell  attend,  because  of  ill  health.  To  fill  these 
vacancies  the  Governor  and  Council  appointed  Dr.  Hugh 
Williamson  and  John  Gray  Blount,  then  a  member  of  Con- 


7 1 

gress.  In  May,  Martin,  Spaight,  Davie  and  Williamson  [ 

reached  Philadelphia.  There  Blount  joined  them  for  a  few 
days  in  June,  but  to  make  a  quorum  in  Congress  soon  re¬ 
turned  to  New  York.  It  was  not  until  August  that  he 
took  his  seat  permanently  in  the  Convention.  On  May  25 
delegates  from  seven  states  being  in  attendance,  the  Con¬ 
vention  was  organized.  Virginia,  the  chief  state  of  the 
Union,  was  the  originator  of  the  movement.  Her  son, 
Washington,  presided  over  the  body,  and  she  presented  the 
first  series  of  resolves,  outlining  a  new  system  of  general 
government.  The  Convention  was  called  by  Congress  for 
the  purpose  of  amending  the  Articles  of  Confederation. 

Virginia,  at  the  outset,  proposed  to  overthrow  the  Con-  Virginia’s 
federacy  and  establish  a  national  government.  The  Virginia  plan 
resolutions  provided  for  a  national  legislature  with  repre¬ 
sentation  based  on  the  number  of  free  inhabitants,  or  on 
the  contributions  to  the  public  treasury.  The  idea  of 
state  equality,  the  corner-stone  of  the  Confederation,  was 
entirely  eliminated.  The  national  legislature  was  to  con¬ 
sist  of  two  branches,  the  one  chosen  by  the  people  of  the 
several  states,  the  other  selected  by  that  branch  from 
persons  nominated  by  the  state  legislatures.  There  was  to 
be  a  national  executive  chosen  by  the  national  legislature. 

The  powers  of  government  were  large  and  supreme.  This 
plan,  providing  for  a  national  government,  was  antagonized 
by  those  who  sought  to  maintain  a  federative  system,  and 
there  was  a  clash  of  opinions  from  the  first.  To  test  the 
sentiment  of  the  body,  Randolph  of  Virginia  offered  a 
resolution  that  “a  national  government  ought  to  be  estab¬ 
lished,  consisting  of  a  supreme  legislative,  judiciary  and  ex¬ 
ecutive.”  The  great  states,  Virginia,  Massachusetts,  Penn¬ 
sylvania  and  the  two  Carolinas,  voted  affirmatively ;  as 
also  did  Delaware.  They  carried  the  measure.  The  Con¬ 
federacy,  with  its  state  equality,  was  to  be  supplanted  by 
a  national  system.  That  much  was  fixed  at  the  outset. 

,  ‘  ^  it 

Although,  because  the  members  were  sworn  to  secrecy, 




Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 



Davie  could  not  divulge  the  proceedings  of  the  Convention, 
he  yet  could  ask  advice,  and  on  the  introduction  of  the 
Virginia  resolves,  he  wrote  to  Iredell:  “Yesterday  nine 
states  were  represented,  and  the  great  business  of  the  meet¬ 
ing  was  brought  forward  by  Virginia.  .  .  .  Be  so  good 

as  to  favor  me  by  the  next  post  with  your  opinion  how 
far  the  introduction  of  judicial  and  executive  powers,  de¬ 
rived  from  Congress,  would  be  politic  or  practicable  in  the 
states.  And  whether  absolute  or  limited  powers  for  the 
regulation,  both  as  to  exports  or  imports,  would  be  best. 
I  shall  trouble  you  frequently,  and  I  shall  expect  your 
opinion  without  reserve.” 

Later  came  up  the  question  of  representation.  North 
Carolina  and  the  other  large  states  voted  for  proportional 
representation  in  both  of  the  branches  of  the  legislature, 
and  for  a  time  it  was  so  determined.  But  June  15,  New 
Jersey  offered  a  resolution  that  the  Convention  should 
merely  amend  the  Articles  of  Confederation,  enlarging  its 
powers,  providing  for  a  President  and  Supreme  Court,  but 
leaving  the  Union  as  it  was,  a  Federal  Union,  each  state 
casting  a  single  vote  in  Congress  and  with  a  negative  on 
the  proceedings.  This  was  the  signal  for  a  heated  contest 
in  the  midst  of  which  Alexander  Hamilton,  against  the 
wishes  of  the  other  delegates  from  New  York,  offered  his 
plan  of  government.  He  proposed  that  the  President 
should  be  chosen  for  life ;  that  the  Senators  should  also  hold 
for  life ;  that  the  governors  of  the  states  should  be  ap¬ 
pointed  by  the  general  government  and  should  have  a  nega¬ 
tive  on  all  laws  passed  by  the  state  legislatures.  In  effect 
his  proposition  was  to  establish  an  elective  limited  mon¬ 
archy,  and  to  reduce  the  states  to  provinces.  In  the  bit¬ 
ter  debate  that  followed  the  small  states  were  pressed  to 
the  wall,  and  with  hot  indignation  they  declared  that  if 
turned  adrift  by  their  larger  sisters  they  would  look  to  some 
foreign  state  to  take  them  by  the  hand. 



At  length,  July  2,  there  was  a  deadlock,  and  the  Conven¬ 
tion  was  about  to  end  in  failure  when  all  matters  at  issue 
were  referred  to  a  grand  committee  of  one  from  each  state. 
Davie  represented  North  Carolina  on  that  committee.  Con¬ 
cessions  were  made ;  and  it  was  proposed  that  in  the  first 
branch  representation  should  be  according  to  population, 
while  in  the  second  branch  the  equality  of  the  states  was 
to  be  observed,  but  money  bills  were  to  originate  only  in 
the  first  branch.  North  Carolina  now  voted  with  the  small 
states,  giving  them  the  majority,  and  by  her  action  the 
deadlock  was  broken  and  state  equality  in  the  Senate  was 
secured.  Discomfited  by  this  turn  in  affairs,  Virginia  and 
the  other  large  states  were  much  dissatisfied.  This  mem¬ 
orable  vote  by  North  Carolina  turned  the  tide  which  had 
been  surging  so  strongly  towards  the  national  system  with¬ 
out  any  element  of  state  equality,  and  the  great  states,  de¬ 
feated  in  their  purposes,  no  longer  insisted  with  vigor  on 
a  constitution  deficient  in  safeguards  for  their  weaker 

In  determining  the  basis  of  representation,  North  Caro¬ 
lina  declared  that  she  would  never  confederate  on  any  terms 
that  did  not  rate  the  slaves  as  at  least  three-fifths  for  fed¬ 
eral  population ;  and  Davie,  who  took  high  rank  among  the 
delegates,  closed  an  impassioned  speech:  “If  the  eastern 
states,  therefore,  mean  to  exclude  them  altogether,  the  busi¬ 
ness  is  at  an  end.” 

It  was  while  the  proceedings  were  pregnant  with  this 
great  matter  that  Williamson  wrote:  “The  diverse  and  al¬ 
most  opposite  interests  that  are  to  be  reconciled  occasion  us 
to  progress  very  slowly.  I  fear  that  Davie  will  be  obliged 
to  leave  us  before  the  business  is  finished,  which  will  be 
a  heavy  stroke  to  the  delegation.”  Martin  wrote  to  Cas¬ 
well  that  the  North  Carolina  deputies  were  generally  unan¬ 
imous  in  all  the  great  matters;  and  Williamson  with  jus¬ 
tifiable  pride  also  said  to  the  Governor:  “We  shall  on  some 
future  occasion  be  at  liberty  to  explain  to  your  Excellency 





Debates,  303 

Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

'i  m 



.  R.,  XX, 

i  66 

Ibid.,  752 

Life  of 
II,  167 

S.  R.,  XX, 

how  difficult  a  part  has  fallen  to  the  share  of  your  State  in 
the  course  of  this  business,  and  I  flatter  myself  greatly  if 
we  have  not  sustained  it  with  a  principle  and  firmness  that 
will  entitle  us  to  what  we  have  never  asked  for — the  thanks 
of  the  public.” 

Nor  were  the  deputies  without  encouraging  words  from 
home.  Caswell,  who  shared  with  Martin  the  greatest  per¬ 
sonal  popularity,  wrote  July  26,  to  Spaight :  “I  am  induced 
to  think  that  the  plan  of  a  national  parliament  and  su¬ 
preme  executive  with  adequate  powers  to  the  government 
of  the  Union  will  be  more  suitable  to  our  situation  and 
circumstances  than  any  other,  but  I  should  wish  also  an 
independent  judicial  department  to  decide  any  contest  that 
may  happen  between  the  United  States  and  individual 
states  and  between  one  state  and  another ;  this,  however, 
is  only  a  hint.  You  may  not  see  the  necessity  of  it  as  for¬ 
cibly  as  I  do,  and  I  presume  it  is  now  too  late  to  ofifer  any 
reasons  for  the  establishment,  as  that  matter  I  flatter  mv- 
self  is  before  this  time  got  over :  all  I  can  say  respecting 
the  Convention  is  to  recommend  a  perseverance  to  the  end, 
to  the  deputies  from  this  State. 

At  length  the  general  principles  of  a  constitution  were 
substantially  agreed  on,  and  on  July  22  Williamson  again 
wrote :  “After  much  labor  the  Convention  has  nearly 
agreed  on  the  principles  and  outline  of  the  system,  which 
we  hope  may  fairly  be  called  an  amendment  of  the  Federal 
Government.  This  system  we  expect  will  in  three  or  four 
days  be  referred  to  a  small  committee  to  be  properly  dressed : 
and  if  we  like  it  when  clothed  and  equipped,  we  shall 
submit  it  to  Congress.”  At  this  time,  too,  Martin  wrote 
to  the  Governor :  “Believe  me,  it  is  no  small  task  to  bring 
to  a  conclusion  the  great  objects  of  a  united  government, 
viewed  in  different  points  by  thirteen  independent  sover¬ 
eignties  ;  United  America  must  have  one  general  interest 
as  a  nation,  at  the  same  time  preserving  the  particular  in¬ 
terests  of  the  individual  state."  Finally  the  special  com- 



mittee,  on  August  6,  reported  the  rough  draft  clothed, 
as  indicated  by  Williamson,  which  was  then  taken  up  para¬ 
graph  by  paragraph. 

A  fortnight  later  Martin  again  wrote  to  Caswell : 
“Though  I  have  not  told  your  Excellency  affirmatively  what 
the  Convention  has  done,  I  can  tell  you  negatively  what 
they  have  not  done.  They  are  not  about  to  create  a  king, 
as  has  been  represented  unfavorably  in  some  of  the  east¬ 
ern  states/’  The  news  of  Hamilton’s  plan  had  gotten 
abroad  and  had  created  a  stir  in  New  England;  indeed,  the 
rumor  went  so  far  as  to  indicate  the  particular  person  who 
was  to  be  invited  to  the  throne  in  America. 

Davie  had  then  left  to  return  home,  and  Williamson, 
the  most  important  man  of  the  delegation  because  of  his 
learning,  wide  information,  talents  and  reputation,  writing 
to  Caswell,  said :  “I  regret  his  departure  very  much,  as  his 
conduct  here  has  induced  me  to  think  highly  of  his  abilities 
and  political  principles.”  A  few  days  later,  Alexander 
Martin  also  returned  to  North  Carolina  ;  the  representatives 
remaining  being  Williamson,  Blount  and  Spaight. 

The  purpose  to  establish  a  national  government  was  gen¬ 
erally  entertained ;  so,  in  the  draft  of  the  Constitution, 
all  of  the  departments  were  designated  as  national,  and 
that  term  was  freely  used  throughout  the  document;  nor 
in  the  Convention  was  it  objected  to.  In  such  a  system, 
the  federative  power  of  an  absolute  negative  in  a  single 
state  could  have  no  place.  On  August  12  Spaight  wrote 
to  Iredell :  “It  is  not  probable  that  the  United  States  will 
in  future  be  so  ideal  as  to  risk  their  happiness  upon  the 
unanimity  of  the  whole ;  and  thereby  put  it  in  the  power 
of  one  or  two  states  to  defeat  the  most  salutary  proposi¬ 
tions  and  prevent  the  Union  from  rising  out  of  that  con¬ 
temptible  situation  to  which  it  is  at.  present  reduced.” 

There  was  a  provision  in  the  instrument  as  reported  by 
the  committee,  that  the  importation  of  such  persons  as  the 
several  states  shall  think  proper  to  admit  shall  not  be 


S.  R.,  XX, 

Ibid.,  765 

Life  of 
II,  168 

of  slaves 








prohibited”;  and  another,  that  “No  navigation  act  shall  be 
passed  without  the  assent  of  two-thirds  of  the  members 
of  each  house.  The  latter  was  distasteful  to  Massachu¬ 
setts,  while  the  first  was  repugnant  to  all  the  states  north 
of  the  Carolinas.  In  the  Convention  it  was  proposed  to 
insert  “free”  before  the  word  persons,  and  Georgia  and 
South  Carolina  became  alarmed.  They  insisted  on  a  right 
to  import  slaves.  The  Convention  hastily  adjourned,  and 
the  next  morning  these  two  clauses  were  referred  to  a  spe¬ 
cial  committee  of  one  from  each  state.  In  that  committee 
South  Carolina  and  Massachusetts  voted  together,  and  their 
respective  wishes  were  consummated.  Slaves  were  allowed 
to  be  imported  until  1808,  by  the  joint  vote  of  New  Eng¬ 
land  and  the  Southern  States,  except  Virginia ;  and  by 
the  aid  of  South  Carolina  all  restrictions  on  the  power  of 
Congress  to  regulate  commerce  were  removed.  Thus  with 
the  assent  of  New  England  the  institution  of  slavery  was 
largely  fastened  on  the  country  and  rendered  of  much  con¬ 
cern  by  the  continued  importation  of  African  slaves,  New 
England  being  more  interested  in  the  slave  trade  than  the 
southern  commonwealths. 

On  September  8  the  Constitution  having  been  agreed  on, 
the  document  was  referred  to  a  committee  to  revise  its 
style,  and  when,  four  days  later,  the  instrument  was  re¬ 
ported  the  word  “national”  was  nowhere  to  be  found  in  it; 
and  although  all  of  its  national  features  remained  intact, 
those  who  advocated  its  adoption  assumed  the  name  of 
Federalists.  It  was  to  be  adopted  by  the  people  of  each 
state  that  should  ratify  it.  On  Saturday,  September  15, 
the  Constitution  was  agreed  to,  and  then  it  was  signed 
and  transmitted  to  Congress.  On  September  18,  Blount, 
Spaight  and  Williamson  united  in  explaining  to  Governor 
Caswell  the  provisions .  of  the  instrument.  No  exertions 
had  been  wanting  to  guard  and  promote  the  particular 
interests  of  North  Carolina.  Attention  was  directed  “to 
the  representation  in  the  second  branch  of  the  national 



legislature  being  according  to  numbers,  that  is  to  say :  ac¬ 
cording  to  the  whole  number  of  white  inhabitants  added  to 
three-fifths  of  the  blacks.  .  .  .  We  had  many  things 

to  hope  from  a  national  government,  and  the  chief  thing 
we  had  to  fear  from  such  a  government  was  the  risk  of 
unequal  or  heavy  taxation.  .  .  .  It  is  provided  in  the 

ninth  section  of  Article  i  that  no  capitation  or  other  direct 
tax  shall  be  laid  except  in  proportion  to  the  number  of 
inhabitants,  in  which  number  five  blacks  are  only  counted 
as  three.  If  a  land  tax  is  laid  we  are  to  pay  the  same 
rate;  for  example,  fifty  citizens  of  North  Carolina  can  be 
taxed  no  more  for  all  their  lands  than  fifty  citizens  in  one 
of  the  eastern  states.  .  .  .  When  it  is  also  considered 
that  five  negroes  are  only  to  be  charged  the  same  poll 
tax  as  three  whites,  the  advantage  must  be  considerably  in¬ 
creased  under  the  proposed  form  of  government.  The 
Southern  States  have  also  a  much  better  security  for  the 
return  of  slaves  who  might  endeavor  to  escape  than  they 
had  under  the  original  Confederation.”  And  the  delegates 
added:  “While  we  were  taking  so  much  care  to  guard  our¬ 
selves  against  being  overreached,  and  to  form  rules  of  tax¬ 
ation  that  might  operate  in  our  favor,  it  was  not  to  be 
supposed  that  our  northern  brethren  were  inattentive  to 
their  particular  interests.”  Particularly,  they  mentioned  the 
power  to  regulate  commerce.  “This  is  what  the  Southern 
States  gave  in  exchange  for  the  advantages  we  mentioned 
above ;  but  we  beg  leave  to  observe,  in  the  course  of  this 
interchange,  North  Carolina  does  not  appear  to  us  to 
have  given  up  anything,  for  we  are  doubtless  the  most 
independent  of  the  Southern  States ;  we  are  able  to  carry 
our  own  produce ;  and  if  the  spirit  of  navigation  and  ship 
building  is  cherished,  we  will  soon  be  able  to  carry  for  our 

In  the  debates  in  the  Convention,  Williamson,  highly  cul¬ 
tured  and  a  man  of  details,  took  an  active  part;  and  Davie 
won  particular  encomiums  for  his  talents  and  devotion  to 






Life  of 
II,  177 

The  parties 

Ibid.,  170 

Jbid.,  181 

business.  It  appears  that  the  delegation  acted  as  a  unit, 
and  North  Carolina  exerted  a  considerable  influence.  It 
was  by  her  vote  that  the  equality  of  the  states  was  pre¬ 
served  in  the  Senate,  and  the  general  plan  made  acceptable 
to  the  smaller  states.  But  for  North  Carolina's  action 
on  that  question,  the  smaller  states  might  have  withdrawn, 
and  the  new  Union  might  not  have  embraced  them. 

The  August  election 

In  North  Carolina,  while  the  Convention  was  in  session, 
its  work  not  yet  done,  and  the  general  result  unknown,  the 
August  elections  took  place.  There  was  much  rancor 
and  political  asperity  evolved  in  the  contest.  Already  those 
who  favored  a  closer  union  of  the  states  began  to  be  known 
as  “Federals”;  and  their  opponents,  who  were  either  con¬ 
tent  with  the  Confederation,  or  advocated  only  slight 
amendments,  were  called  “Anti-Federals”  or  Republicans. 
Great  bitterness  was  infused  into  the  canvass,  and  in  many 
places  tumults  and  assaults  occurred.  In  Orange,  “Hooper 
had  an  engagement  with  McCauley,  in  which  he  came 
ofif  second  best,  with  his  eyes  blacked."  Generally,  those 
who  agreed  with  the  Federal  leaders  were  successful.  Ire¬ 
dell  had  been  brought  forward  too  late  to  be  elected,  but, 
heartily  in  favor  of  the  proposed  Constitution,  he  urged 
its  adoption  by  tongue  and  pen,  and  gave  to  the  cause 
the  full  weight  of  his  influence.  Early  in  November  a  pub¬ 
lic  meeting  was  held  at  Edenton  and  resolutions  adopted 
to  support  the  Constitution ;  and  four  days  later  the  grand 
jury  attending  the  Superior  Court  of  that  district,  presented 
to  the  court  an  elaborate  address  prepared  by  Iredell:  “We 
admire  in  the  new  Constitution  a  proper  jealousy  of  liberty, 
mixed  with  the  due  regard  to  the  necessity  of  a  strong,  au¬ 
thoritative  government.  Such  a  one  is  a  requisite  for  a 
confederative  as  for  a  single  government,  since  it  would 
not  be  more  ridiculous  or  futile  for  our  own  Assembly  to 
depend  for  any  necessary  exertion  of  power  on  the  unan- 



imous  concurrence  of  all  the  states  in  the  Union.”  And 
the  grand  jury  urged  that  the  Assembly  should  call  an 
early  convention. 

The  Assembly 

It  was  under  such  influences  that  the  Legislature  met  at 
Tarboro  on  November  19.  Willie  Jones  was  not  a  mem¬ 
ber,  but  Person  and  Coor  were  in  the  Senate.  That  body 
organized  by  electing  as  speaker  Alexander  Martin,  one 
of  the  delegates  who  had  framed  the  Constitution.  Judge 
John  Sitgreaves,  also  an  advocate  of  its  adoption,  was  chosen 
Speaker  of  the  House.  The  temper  of  the  Assembly  was 
manifested  by  a  broad  patriotism  and  a  liberal  spirit. 
Governor  Caswell  was  about  to  retire  from  the  executive 
chair,  and  doubtless  threw  his  influence  toward  promot¬ 
ing  the  closer  union  which  he  had  advanced  in  its  incip- 
iency  by  appointing  delegates  to  attend  the  Annapolis  Con¬ 
ference,  and  which  was  exactly  in  line  with  his  own  rec¬ 
ommendation  to  the  delegates. 

The  disposition  to  conform  to  the  wishes  of  the  general 
government  was  made  apparent  by  the  first  act  of  the 
Assembly.  The  Governor  communicated  the  correspond¬ 
ence  from  the  President  of  the  Congress  urging  that  the 
Treaty  of  Peace  should  be  fully  observed.  So  far  North 
Carolina  had  turned  a  deaf  ear  to  all  entreaties,  declining 
to  give  effect  to  the  provisions  of  the  Treaty  that  were 
favorable  to  the  Tories.  Now,  the  first  act  of  the  session 
declared  the  Treaty  to'  be  the  law  of  the  land,  and  required 
that  the  courts  of  the  State  should  judge  all  cases  accord¬ 
ingly.  Thus  ended  the  protracted  contests  over  that  exas¬ 
perating  question,  and  the  tribulations  of  the  Loyalists  and 
their  friends  drew  to  a  close.  Although  James  Iredell  had 
failed  of  election  his  party  colleagues  were  in  the  ascendancy 
and  he  was  appointed  one  of  the  State  Council,  and  his  repu¬ 
tation  as  a  lawyer  was  so  high  that  he  was  directed,  as 
sole  commissioner,  to  revise  and  publish  the  Acts  of  Assem- 

Nov.  1787 

S.  R.,  XX, 

Ibid.,  752 

Ibid.,  129 

Treaty  of 





S.  R,  XX 




S.  R.,  XX, 



bly,  with  large  discretionary  powers.  The  sympathies  of 
the  Assembly  were  aroused  in  behalf  of  Richard  Bradley, 
a  young  man  who  had  killed  Col.  Sam  Swann  in  a  duel  at 
Wilmington,  and  it  recommended  that  the  Governor  should 
pardon  him.*  And  the  Governor  was  also  authorized  to 
pardon  McCulloh  and  all  others  convicted  of  frauds  against 
the  State. 

On  the  second  day  of  the  session  Governor  Caswell  pre¬ 
sented  the  draft  of  the  proposed  Constitution  and  a 
letter  from  Congress  submitting  it  to  the  State;  and  Decem¬ 
ber  6  was  set  apart  for  its  consideration.  When  that  day 
arrived  the  two  houses  formed  themselves  into  a  committee 
of  the  whole,  with  Elisha  Battle  in  the  chair,  to  consider 
the  instrument.  The  business  was  speedily  disposed  of. 
At  a  single  sitting  resolutions  were  agreed  to  recommending 
the  people  of  each  county  to  elect  five  delegates  to  a  con¬ 
vention  to  be  held  to  consider  the  Constitution,  and  if 
approved  by  them,  to  confirm  and  ratify  it  on  the  part  of 
the  State.  In  .the  Senate,  James  Coor,  seconded  by  General 
Person,  moved  an  amendment  that  “in  case  they  do  not 
agree  that  the  said  proposed  Constitution  shall  become 
binding  on  the  people  of  the  State,  then  and  in  that  case, 
they  report  to  the  executive  authority  of  this  State  their 
objections,  and  the  necessary  alterations  that  should  he  made 
in  it  to  secure  to  the  people  their  most  valuable  and  indis¬ 
pensable  rights,  liberties  and  privileges  as  expressed  and 
secured  to  them  by  the  Bill  of  Rights  and  Constitution  of 
the  State.”  This  proposition,  however,  received  but  eight 
votes,  while  thirty-five  members  voted  against  it.  In  the 
House  there  was  no  division :  The  Assembly  also  recom¬ 
mended  to  the  people  to  authorize  the  convention  to  fix 
a  place  for  holding  the  General  Assembly,  which  shall  be 
the  unalterable  seat  of  government. 

*The  Governor  accordingly  pardoned  Bradley;  but  the  judges  held  that  the 
Executive  was  not  authorized  by  the  Constitution  to  pardon  a  culprit  before 
conviction,  and  at  the  next  session,  the  Legislature  itself  passed  an  act 
pardoning  him. 



To  open  Raleigh  Inlet 

The  spirit  of  enterprise  for  which  the  Albemarle  section 
was  famous  was  illustrated  by  an  application  for  the  incor¬ 
poration  of  a  company  composed  of  many  well-known 
citizens  to  deepen  a  channel  and  cut  out  an  inlet  to  be 
known  as  the  Raleigh  Inlet,  from  Albemarle  Sound  to  the 
sea.  The  affairs  of  the  western  counties  received  atten¬ 
tion,  and  it  being  again  proposed  to  repeal  the  act  annulling 
the  Act  of  Cession  and  to  authorize  the  delegation  in  Con¬ 
gress  to  convey  the  western  territory  to  the  United  States, 
the  proposition  was  defeated ;  and  measures  were  taken  to 
quiet  the  disorders  in  that  region. 

Dr.  Hugh  Williamson  and  Robert  Burton  were  chosen 
delegates  to  the  Continental  Congress,  and  their  election 
was  in  line  with  the  general  action  of  the  Assembly,  favor¬ 
able  to  the  Federal  party.  Still  more  strongly  did  the 
Assembly  manifest  its  Federalism  by  the  election  of  Samuel 
Johnston  as  Governor.  On  being  notified,  Johnston  re¬ 
paired  to  Tarborough,  where  he  was  received  with  many 
marks  of  distinction.  Davie  mentioned  “a  number  of  gen¬ 
tlemen  were  to  meet  him  on  his  coming  to  town  and  Cas¬ 
well  must  have  felt  some  mortification  at  this  attention  to 
Mr.  Johnston,  as  no  notice  had  been  taken  of  him.”  On 
December  20,  at  a  joint  session  of  the  two  houses,  Johnston 
took  the  oaths,  but  departed  from  the  usual  custom  and 
delivered  no  inaugural. 


In  November,  1787,  William  Atmore,  a  merchant  of  Phil¬ 
adelphia,  came  to  New  Bern,  Tarboro  and  Washington, 
having  business  relations  with  many  of  the  people  of  that 
section.  He  kept  a  journal,  in  which  he  entered  “Washing¬ 
ton  is  a  town  consisting  of  about  sixty  families.  .  .  .  Vessels 
drawing  seven  and  a  half  feet  of  water  come  up  when  the 

river  is  low.  .  .  .  About  two  miles  below  the  town  the  navi- 





Life  of 
II,  216 

S.  R.,  XX, 




Life  at 

gation  is  impeded  by  sunken  logs  and  by  stumps  of  large 
trees  that  are  supposed  to  have  grown  there/’  A  similar 
subsidence  also,  is  said  to  have  occurred  above  Edenton. 
"The  trade  up  the  river  as  far  as  Tarborough  is  carried  on 
chiefly  in  large  scows  and  flats,  drawing  but  little  water, 
some  of  these  carry  70  or  80  hogsheads  of  tobacco.  .  .  . 

At  Washington  there  are  several  convenient  wharves  and 
there  are  sometimes  lying  here  twenty  sail  of  sea  vessels. 
There  is  a  courthouse,  and  prison  there,  and  there  is  a  school 

“The  merchants  export  from  this  Town,  Tar,  Pitch, 
Turpentine,  Rosin,  Indian  Corn,  Boards,  Scantling,  Staves, 
Shingles,  Furs,  Tobacco,  Pork,  Lard,  Tallow,  Beeswax, 
Myrtlewax,  Pease,  and  some  other  articles.  Their  Trade  is 
chiefly  with  the  West  Indies  and  with  other  States  on  this 
Continent;  the  Navigation  not  admitting  Vessels  of  great 
burthen  to  come  up  to  the  Town;  and  for  a  large  Vessel  to 
lay  below  to  load  at  the  Anchorage  near  the  Bar  is  always 
inconvenient,  and  sometimes  dangerous. 

“We  found  upon  our  arrival  at  Tarborough  the  place 
much  crowded ;  the  Legislature  being  sitting  for  the  dis¬ 
patch  of  business — The  size  of  the  Town  appear’d  so  inade¬ 
quate  to  the  comfortable  accommodation  of  a  Legislature 
composed  of  about  120  Commons  or  Delegates  and  about 
60  Senators,  together  with  the  people  attending  the  Ses¬ 
sions  in  business  or  going  there  on  motives  of  pleasure, 
that  you  will  not  easily  believe  that  it  was  possible  to  provide 
for  them;  Yet  provided  for  they  were.  And  they  said 
themselves,  very  comfortably ;  One  old  Countryman  said 
that  he  had  cause  to  be  satisfied ;  that  he  lives  there  much 
better  than  at  home. — 

“Captain  Toole,  a  Trader,  and  for  the  time  Innkeeper 
provided  for  40  or  50  Members,  with  a  great  number  of 
others ;  every  family  almost  received  some  of  the  Members ; 
Beds  were  borrowed  from  the  Country,  3  or  4  placed  in 
a  room,  and  two  of  their  Honors  in  a  Bed — :  provisions 



were  in  plenty.  Horses  were  mostly  sent  to  Farms  in  the 
vicinity  of  the  Town — Mr.  Falkener  who  formerly  resided 
sometime  in  Philadelphia  brought  hither  his  E.  O.  Table; 
Gambling  was  carried  to  great  extent  at  this  Table  and  also 
at  other  Games ;  at  times  several  of  my  acquaintances  have 
told  me  of  their  losses, — A  Trader  of  Newbern  lost  in  one 
night  600  pounds — Some  attempts  were  made  to  represent 
some  dramatic  pieces,  but  with  very  bad  success — Two  of 
the  Actresses  were  Adventuresses  from  Charleston. 

“The  Court  House  is  a  large  wooden  building  of  two 
Apartments,  and  standing  on  brick  Pillars ;  in  the  long 
Room  the  Commons  met ;  in  the  other  the  Senate — Any 
person  is  at  liberty  to  go  and  hear  the  debates  in  either 
House,  Standing  uncover’d  without  their  Bar — The  bar  at 
the  Senate  was  a  Board  laid  across  two  old  trunks,  standing 
on  the  ends  which  served  very  well  pro  tern. 

"The  Bar  of  the  Commons  House  was  the  Court  House 
Bar — Every  Member  sat  with  his  Hat  on  except  when  ad¬ 
dressing  the  Chair — The  business  before  the  house  not 
being  very  interesting  I  soon  retired — But  soon  after  hear¬ 
ing  that  the  new  Governor  was  to  be  Sworn  into  office  I 
returned.  There  was  now  a  joint  Meeting  of  the  two 
houses  in  the  large  Room,  a  Committee  of  3  or  4  gentlemen 
went  to  him,  they  walk’d  together  to  the  House.  All  the 
Members  rose  on  his  entering.  The  usual  Oath  of  Alle¬ 
giance  to  the  State  and  Oath  of  Office  as  Governor  being 
by  him  distinctly  repeated  and  sworn,  he  retired  to  his 
lodgings,  there  being  no  Ceremony  of  Proclamation.” 

Being  rowed  across  the  river  at  Blounts  ferry  by  two 
negroes,  Atmore  asked  one : 

“Where  was  you  born,  boy?” 

“I  was  born  in  Guinea.” 

“Don’t  you  want  to  go  back  to  your  Country?” 

“I  have  learnt  another  Language  now,  they  will  kill  me 
if  I  go  back  to  my  home — ” 

“How  came  you  brought  from  yr.  Country?” 


The  custom 







Life  at 

“I  went  with  many  more  to  attack  a  town,  where  they  were 
too  strong  for  us,  they  killed  a  great  many,  and  took  140 
of  us  prisoners,  and  sold  us.” 

‘‘Had  you  not  better  have  let  them  alone  and  remained  in 
peace  at  home  ?” 

“No.  My  Nation  always  fight  that  Nation.” 

“And  what  would  you  do  if  you  return’d  to  your  Country 
now,  you’d  be  quiet?” 

“No,  I  go  there,  and  fight  ’em  worse  than  ever.” 

Mr.  Atmore  visited  New  Bern  where  he  had  friends,, 
and  he  gives  a  pleasing  account  of  the  society  there.  And 
there  he  met  the  daughter  of  Judge  Sitgreaves,  who  event¬ 
ually  married  him.  He  describes  the  palace  as  untenanted, 
but  the  spacious  hall  sometimes  was  used  for  balls,  and  in 
the  building  a  school  was  kept. 

Gen.  John  Willis  had  been  a  soldier  in  the  Revolutionary 
War.  He  was  a  lawyer  and  a  civil  engineer  and  also  a 
large  planter  and  mill  owner.  He  laid  ofif  the  town  of 
Lumberton  on  some  of  his  land ;  and  established  an  academy 
there  of  which  David  Kerr  was  the  principal  before  he  was 
employed  at  the  University.  Somewhat  later  he  proposed 
to  sell  to  W.  Norment  his  lands  in  the  Raft  Swamp  and 
Drowning  Creek,  11,776  acres,  with  his  mills.  The  trade 
from  Lumberton  was  by  flats  down  the  river  to  Georgetown. 
He  was  in  the  Assembly  at  times  and  in  that  of  1787  at 
Tarboro.  On  December  10,  when  the  session  was  about  a 
month  old,  he  wrote  to  his  wife :  “I  now  have  an  oppor¬ 
tunity  to  write  to  you — a  young  man  going  to  Fayetteville — 
the  first  I  have  had  since  I  arrived  here.”  After  telling 
about  calling  the  Convention  of  1788,  he  adds:  “I  have  the 
future  of  the  dear  children  around  you  continually  in  my 
views.  I  will  bring  when  I  come  about  20  pounds  worth 
of  excellent  books,  just  such  as  I  know  you  will  be  fond 
of.”  He  became  a  member  of  the  Convention. 


Convention  of  1788 

The  influence  of  Virginia. — Ratification  doubtful. — Jefferson’s 
attitude. — The  people  divided  in  every  state. — Virginia  ratifies  in 
June. — Opposition  in  New  York  weakens. — The  Convention  meets 
at  Hillsboro  in  July. — Willie  Jones  influenced  by  action  of  Vir¬ 
ginia — Governor  Johnston  presides. — The  Anti-Federals  in  con¬ 
trol. — The  Constitution  considered  by  paragraphs. — The  Conven¬ 
tion  fails  to  ratify  and  proposes  amendments. — The  seat  of  govern¬ 
ment  located  in  Wake  County. 

The  Convention  was  to  meet  at  Hillsboro  in  July,  July,  1788 
and  in  March  the  election  of  delegates  took  place.  Pre¬ 
liminary  to  it  great  interest  was  manifested.  Iredell  pub¬ 
lished  in  the  State  Gazette  at  New  Bern  a  masterly  dis¬ 
sertation  on  the  proposed  Constitution  that  attracted  wide  Lifeof 
attention.  But  the  Virginia  influence  was  strong.  In  that  {ge6de11,  IIf 
state  Mason  had  published  a  caustic  criticism  of  the  instru¬ 
ment,  and  although  Jefferson  was  in  France  he  maintained 
an  active  correspondence  with  friends,  to  whom  he  ex¬ 
pressed  grave  apprehensions.  Even  before  the  close  of  Jan¬ 
uary  Davie  wrote :  “The  great  deference  this  State  has 
been  accustomed  to  pay  to  the  political  opinions  of  the  Old 
Dominion  will,  I  believe,  have  a  very  bad  effect  on  the  de¬ 
termination  of  this  great  question.  This  circumstance, 
added  to  the  opposition  already  formed,  in  my  opinion,  ren¬ 
ders  its  adoption  in  this  State  extremely  doubtful.”  In  May 

a  j  j  217 

he  and  Moore  and  Iredell  prepared  a  pamphlet,  published 
by  contributions  for  general -circulation.  But  the  cause  was 
hopeless.  Willie  Jones  had  from  the  first  been  opposed  to 
the  Constitution,  and  he  at  once  became  the  head  of  a  party 
having  its  defeat  for  their  object.  The  men  in  office  were 
generally  unfavorable  to  any  change,  and  a  cry  was  raised 
that  the  poor  would  be  ruined  by  taxes  and  that  there  was 
no  security  for  freedom  of  conscience.  The  paper  at  New 
Bern,  published  by  Xavier  Martin,  was  strongly  Anti- 



Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 


Ibid.,  329 

Federal,  and  although  most  of  the  leaders  of  thought  were 
favorable  to  accepting  the  Constitution,  those  who  had  the 
ear  of  the  masses  were  in  opposition.  At  the  election, 
Allen  Jones,  Blount,  Hooper,  Alfred  Moore,  Alexander 
Martin  and  Judge  Williams,  all  Federals,  were  defeated. 

Jefferson’s  views 

About  the  middle  of  December  Jefferson  had  written  from 
Paris :  “Our  new  Constitution  is  powerfully  attacked  in  the 
American  newspapers.  The  objections  are  that  its  effect 
would  be  to  form  the  thirteen  states  into  one ;  that,  pro¬ 
posing  to  melt  all  down  into  one  general  government,  they 
have  fenced  the  people  by  no  declaration  of  rights  ;  they  have 
not  renounced  the  power  of  keeping  a  standing  army ;  they 
have  not  secured  the  liberty  of  the  press ;  they  have  reserved 
the  power  of  abolishing  trials  by  jury  in  civil  cases;  they 
have  proposed  that  the  laws  of  the  Federal  legislature  shall 
be  paramount  to  the  laws  and  constitutions  of  the  states ; 
they  have  abandoned  rotation  in  office,  and  particularly, 
their  president  may  be  reelected  from  four  years  to  four 
years,  for  life,  so  as  to  render  him  a  king  for  life.”  Later, 
while  pointing  out  what  pleased  him  in  the  Constitution,  he 
again  referred  with  disapprobation  to  an  omission  of  a  bill 
of  rights,  providing  “for  freedom  of  religion,  freedom  of 
the  press,  protection  against  standing  armies,  restrictions 
of  monopolies,  the  eternal  and  unremitting  force  of  the 
habeas  corpus  laws,  and  trials  by  jury.”  Finally  he  wrote: 
“I  wish  with  all  my  soul  that  the  first  nine  conventions  may 
accept  the  new  Constitution,  because  this  will  insure  to  us 
the  good  it  contains,  which  I  -  think  great  and  important. 
But  I  equally  wish  that  the  four  latest  conventions,  which¬ 
ever  they  may  be,  may  refuse  to  accede  to  it  till  a  bill  of 
rights  be  annexed.” 


The  opposition 

The  question  of  ratifying  the  Constitution  indeed  divided 
the  people  into  two  hostile  camps  from  Massachusetts  to 
Georgia.  The  proposition  was  bitterly  antagonized.  The 
opponents  were  inflamed  by  every  art  that  could  appeal  to 
popular  prejudice  as  well  as  to  sound  judgment.  Every¬ 
where  there  was  passionate  remonstrance  against  putting  in 
peril  the  liberties  of  the  people — met,  however,  by  the  advo¬ 
cates  of  the  measure  with  an  equally  forcible  presentation 
of  the  necessity  of  securing  the  benefits  of  the  Union  and  of 
stable  government.  The  future  of  America  hung  trem¬ 
blingly  in  the  balance.  At  first  the  result  was  doubtful. 

In  Pennsylvania  there  was  hot  opposition,  but  in  Decem¬ 
ber  Delaware,  Pennsylvania  and  New  Jersey  ratified;  and 
Georgia  and  Connecticut  in  January.  The  convention  of 
Massachusetts,  after  a  long  and  severe  struggle,  in  Feb¬ 
ruary  ratified  by  a  vote  of  187  to  168,  proposing  a  great 
number  of  amendments.  By  May,  Maryland  and  South 
Carolina  had  also  adopted  the  Constitution,  proposing 
amendments.  Only  eight  states  had  ratified ;  and  the  result 
was  expected  to  be  adverse  in  the  remaining  states. 

The  Virginia  ratification 

Such  was  the  situation  when  on  June  2  the  Virginia  Con¬ 
vention  met.  There  was  bitter  opposition;  the  majority  was 
adverse,  and  the  result  was  altogether  uncertain.  The  great 
leaders  were  divided.  At  length,  after  a  discussion  ex¬ 
tending  over  three  weeks,  the  influence  of  Washington  pre¬ 
vailed,  and  it  was  on  June  26  agreed  by  a  vote  of  89  to  79 
to  ratify;  and  the  form  of  ratification  adopted  was:  “We 
the  delegates  of  the  people  of  Virginia  .  .  .  do  in  the 

name  and  in  behalf  of  the  people  of  Virginia,  declare  and 
make  known,  that  the  powers  granted  under  the  Consti¬ 
tution,  being  derived  from  the  people  of  the  United  States, 
may  be  resumed  by  them  whenever  the  same  shall  be  per- 





verted  to  their  injury  or  oppression.”  A  bill  of  rights 
was  proposed  and  twenty-one  amendments. 

Likewise  New  Hampshire  ratified  on  June  21.  In  July, 
the  New  York  Convention  met.  As  elected,  the  majority 
against  the  Constitution  was  overwhelming;  but  when  New 
Hampshire  and  Virginia  ratified,  the  opposition  weakened. 
It  was,  however,  proposed  that  a  new  convention  of  all  the 
states  should  be  held ;  and  finally,  on  the  strength  of  pledges 
that  there  would  be  amendments,  the  instrument  was  on 
July  26,  agreed  to  by  a  majority  of  three  votes;  a  large 
number  of  amendments  being  submitted:  and  New  York, 
in  her  ratification  declared  her  right  to  withdraw. 

The  Convention 

On  July  21  the  North  Carolina  Convention  met  in  Old 
St.  Matthews  Church  at  Hillsboro,  which  had  by  act 
of  1784  been  converted  into  a  free  church.  The  full  mem¬ 
bership  was  280,  of  whom  268  were  in  attendance.  There 
were  two  chief  factions :  those  who  favored  ratification  re¬ 
gardless  of  amendments,  and  those  who  proposed  that  there 
should  be  amendments  before  North  Carolina  would  ratify. 
Of  the  latter  Willie  Jones  was  the  leader.  Originally  he 
had  opposed  the  adoption  of  the  Constitution,  and  was 
“perfectly  Anti-Federal”;  but  on  the  ratification  by  Vir¬ 
ginia,  realizing  that  the  new  government  would  be  ordained, 
he  abandoned  his  earlier  position  and  sought  to  secure 
amendments  before  North  Carolina  should  yield  her  assent. 
Many  of  the  Federal  leaders  had  been  defeated,  but  among 
the  members  were  Johnston,  Iredell,  Maclaine,  Davie, 
Spaight,  Blount,  Grove,  Cabarrus,  Steele,  Hill,  Sitgreaves, 
Owen  and  other  Federals  of  the  first  water.  Davie  and 
Spaight  had  a  hand  in  preparing  the  Constitution;  and  Ire¬ 
dell  and  Maclaine  had  been  its  sponsors  in  North  Carolina. 
In  the  opposition  were  Elisha  Battle,  Willie  Jones,  Spencer, 
Person,  David  Caldwell,  James  Galloway,  Clinton,  Mont- 
fort,  Lenoir,  Mebane,  Kenan,  Egbert  Haywood,  William 



Shepperd,  Benjamin  Williams,  Hargett,  Joel  Lane,  Hinton, 
Rutherford,  Josiah  Collins,  Bloodworth,  Devane,  Branch, 

Dickson,  General  McDowell,  John  Macon,  Locke,  Tipton 
from  beyond  the  mountains,  and  other  men  of  consequence. 

It  soon  developed  that  the  Federals  were  in  a  woeful 
minority;  but  Governor  Johnston  was  unanimously  chosen 
President,  a  compliment  no  less  due  to  his  eminence  than 
to  his  official  character  as  Governor  of  the  State.  On  the 
third  day,  Galloway,  seconded  by  Macon,  moved  that  the 
Constitution  and  other  papers  be.  read,  and  that  the  Consti¬ 
tution  be  discussed  clause  by  clause.  Willie  Jones,  seconded 
by  General  Person,  moved  that  the  question  on  the  Consti¬ 
tution  be  immediately  put.  He  said  that  the  Constitution 
had  been  so  long  the  subject  of  deliberation  that  he  believed 
every  member  was  prepared  to  give  his  vote  at  once.  To 
this  Iredell  replied,  if  that  was  to  be  the  procedure,  the 
voters  at  the  polls  might  as  well  have  determined  the  matter ; 
that  the  Constitution  had  been  submitted  to  the  Convention 
for  debate  and  deliberation.  Galloway  then  proposed  to  go 
into  committee  of  the  whole.  To  this  Person  objected,  but 
the  Convention  took  that  course,  and  by  a  majority  deter¬ 
mined  to  discuss  the  Constitution,  clause  by  clause.  Evi¬ 
dently  Willie  Jones  and  General  Person  did  not  control  the 
body.  The  discussions  continued  a  week,  Elisha  Battle  pre¬ 
siding  as  chairman  of  the  committee  of  the  whole.  As  it 
seemed  from  the  first  that  the  Constitution  would  not  be  Life  of 

Iredell,  II,  8 

ratified,  Iredell  and  Davie,  hoping  that  the  publication  of  the 
debates  might  have  some  effect  in  procuring  its  ratification 
on  a  subsequent  occasion,  employed  a  stenographer  to  take 
them  down  and,  at  some  pecuniary  loss,  published  them. 

The  opposition  was  alike  from  the  west  and  the  east.  The 
Federals  argued  that  the  instrument  had  to  be  adopted  in  its 
entirety  or  rejected:  that  the  rejection  of  one  clause  carried 
the  whole  Constitution.  The  debates  were  full,  warm,  and 
often  acrimonious.  While  the  Federal  leaders  spoke  much, 

Jones  and  Person  did  not  enter  into  the  discussion.  Judge 



Life  of 

Spencer,  a  graduate  of  Princeton,  Dr.  Caldwell,  the  head 
of  the  famous  academy,  Timothy  Bloodworth,  James  Gallo¬ 
way,  Joseph  McDowell,  Matthew  Locke  and  Joseph  Taylor 
were  the  chief  debaters  against  the  instrument.  At  the 
outset,  Dr.  Caldwell,  as  a  basis  to  test  the  principles  of  the 
Constitution,  submitted  some  political  maxims,  the  first  of 
which  was  that  government  is  a  compact  between  the  rulers 
and  the  people ;  but  the  Convention  refused  to  adopt  them, 
although  strongly  urged  by  Person  and  Rutherford.  And 
as  the  Convention  refused  to  follow  Jones  in  his  proposition 
of  no  discussion  and  Dr.  Caldwell  in  laying  down  funda¬ 
mental  principles,  apparently  the  members  were  retaining 
their  independence,  and  there  was  a  gleam  of  hope  that 
a  majority  might  be  won  for  ratification.  Accordingly  the 
Federal  leaders  entered  on  the  discussion,  intent  on  persua¬ 
sion,  and  determined,  if  possible,  to  answer  every  reasonable 
objection.  They  all  participated  in  the  debates,  which, 
though  sometimes  heated,  were  generally  in  good  temper, 
and  the  presentation  of  the  various  provisions  of  the  Con¬ 
stitution  by  Davie,  Iredell,  Maclaine,  Johnston,  and  their 
associates  excites  admiration  for  its  fairness,  accuracy  and 
comprehensiveness.  On  the  other  hand  the  objections  to 
the  instrument,  the  necessity  of  amendments  to  fully  secure 
the  rights  of  the  people  and  of  the  states,  were  forcibly 

Dr.  Caldwell  animadverted  with  severity  on  the  expres¬ 
sion,  “We,  the  people.’’  “Were  not  they  who  framed  this 
Constitution  the  representatives  of  the  legislatures  of  the 
different  states?  In  my  opinion,  they  had  no  power  from 
the  people  at  large  to  use  their  name  or  to  act  for  them. 
They  were  not  delegated  for  that  purpose.’’ 

This  allegation  that  the  delegates  had  exceeded  their 
powers  led  to  an  exhaustive  speech  from  General  Davie,  one 
of  the  delegates  involved:  “Were  not  the  state  legislatures 
afterwards  to  review  our  proceedings?  Is  it  not  through 
their  recommendations  that  the  plan  of  the  Convention  is 



submitted  to  the  people?  .  .  .  The  Confederation  de¬ 

rived  its  sole  support  from  the  state  legislatures.  This 
rendered  it  weak  and  ineffectual.  It  was  therefore  neces¬ 
sary  that  the  foundations  of  this  government  should  be  laid 
on  the  broad  basis  of  the  people.  .  .  .  The  House  of 

Representatives  are  immediately  elected  by  the  people. 
The  Senators  represent  the  sovereignties  of  the  State.” 
Davie’s  exposition  was  candid,  thorough,  and  highly  credit¬ 
able  to  him  as  a  statesman.  Joseph  Taylor,  however,  re¬ 
plied  :  “This  is  a  consolidation  of  all  the  states.  Had  it 
said  ‘We,  the  states,’  there  would  have  been  a  federal  inten¬ 
tion  in  it.  But,  Sir,  it  is  clear  that  a  consolidation  is  in¬ 
tended.”  On  the  other  hand  Maclaine  insisted :  “It  is  no 
more  than  a  blank  till  it  be  adopted  by  the  people.  When 
that  is  done  here,  is  it  not  the  people  of  the  State  of  North 
Carolina  that  do  it,  joined  with  the  people  of  the  other 
states  who  have  adopted  it?” 

When  the  clause  permitting  the  importation  of  slaves  un¬ 
til  1808  was  reached  there  were  strong  expressions  in  favor 
of  putting  an  end  to  the  traffic;  but  as  to  manumission, 
Galloway  declared :  “It  is  impossible  for  us  to  be  happy,  if, 
after  manumission,  they  are  to  stay  among  us.” 

In  the  course  of  argument  Iredell  said :  “There  was  a 
great  debate  in  the  Convention  whether  the  Senate  should 
have  an  equal  power  of  originating  money  bills.  .  .  . 

I  have  reason  to  believe  that  our  representatives  had  a  great 
share  in  establishing  this  excellent  regulation  (the  exclu¬ 
sive  right  in  the  House  of  Representatives),  and  in  my 
opinion  they  deserve  the  public’s  thanks  for  it.”  Arguing 
for  adoption,  Iredell  continued :  “That  power  which  created 
the  government  can  destroy  it.  .  .  Massachusetts, 
South  Carolina,  New  Hampshire  and  Virginia  have  all 
proposed  amendments ;  but  they  all  concurred  in  the  neces¬ 
sity  of  immediate  adoption.” 

Judge  Spencer  argued  that  there  should  be  a  bill  of 
rights,  something  to  confine  the  power  of  government  within 

Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

Ibid.,  101 

Ibid.,  120 

Ibid.,  130 

9  2 


Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

Ibid.,  169 

its  proper  bounds.  It  would  keep  the  states,  he  urged, 
from  being  swallowed  up  by  a  consolidated  government. 
He  objected  strongly  to  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Federal 
courts.  He  thought  those  courts  would  prove  oppresssive, 
and  he  urged  that  there  would  undoubtedly  be  clashing  be¬ 
tween  them  and  the  state  courts.  He  expressed  the  view 
that  the  business  and  the  remaining  power  of  the  state 
courts  would  gradually  be  abolished. 

Mr.  Locke  said  that  if  the  state  judiciary  might  be  par¬ 
tial  so  would  the  Federal  judges.  He  deemed  it  deroga¬ 
tory  to  the  honor  of  the  State  to  give  this  jurisdiction  to 
the  Federal  judges.  “I  greatly  fear,”  he  exclaimed,  “for 
this  State  and  for  other  states.”  But  Governor  Johnston, 
Iredell,  Maclaine,  Davie  and  others  combated  these  views, 
the  discussion  taking  a  wide  range. 

The  opponents  of  the  Constitution,  admitting  that  the 
new  government  acted  on  the  individual  and  not  the  state, 
urged  the  absolute  necessity  of  a  bill  of  rights  to  guard 
and  protect  the  liberties  of  the  citizens,  which  were  in  dan¬ 
ger  because  there  was  no  sufficient  limitation  on  the  powers 
of  government. 

On  the  other  hand,  said  Maclaine,  “the  powers  of  Con¬ 
gress  are  limited  and  enumerated.  .  .  .  We  retain  all 

those  rights  we  have  not  given  away  to  the  general  gov¬ 

The  subject  of  preserving  the  rights  and  powers  of  the 
states  was  discussed  at  great  length ;  and  while  the  doctrine 
was  broadly  maintained  that  the  Federal  Constitution,  when 
adopted,  would  become  a  part  of  the  State  Constitution,  it 
was  declared  that  the  latter  must  yield  to  the  former  only 
in  those  particular  cases  where  power  is  given.  The  State 
Constitution,  they  said,  is  not  to  yield  in  any  other  case 
whatsoever.  The  laws  of  the  United  States  would  be 
supreme,  but  only  in  cases  consistent  with  the  powers  spe¬ 
cially  granted.  Maclaine,  perhaps  the  most  violent  Feder¬ 
alist  in  the  body,  said:  “This  proposal  is  made  to  the  peo- 

Ibid.,  180 



pie.  No  man  will  deny  their  authority  to  delegate  powers,  £ 

and  recall  them,  in  all  free  countries.”  To  this  there  was 
no  dissent. 

The  necessity  of  some  amendments  was  freely  admitted, 
opinion  being  divided  as  to  the  scope  of  the  necessary 
amendments,  and  as  to  whether  there  should  be  ratification 
prior  to  the  adoption  of  the  amendments. 

At  length,  after  a  patient  discussion  of  every  clause  of  the 
Constitution,  Governor  Johnston  proposed  that  the  conven¬ 
tion  should  ratify  the  instrument,  and  at  the  same  time  pro¬ 
pose  amendments.  Somewhat  later,  Willie  Jones  said  that 
he  was  opposed  to  that  step ;  he  proposed  that  there  should 
be  certain  amendments  before  North  Carolina  should  ratify. 

On  the  following  day,  for  the  first  time,  he  explained  his 
views:  “It  is  objected  that  we  will  be  out  of  the  Union. 

So  I  wish  to  be.  We  are  left  at  liberty  to  come  in  at  any  Life  of 
time.  It  is  said  we  shall  suffer  a  great  loss  for  want  of  a  225 
share  of  the  imposts.  I  have  no  doubt  we  shall  share  it 
when  we  come  in,  as  much  as  if  we  adopt  it  now.  I  have 
a  resolution  in  my  pocket,  which  I  intend  to  introduce  if 
this  resolution  is  carried,  recommending  it  to  the  Legislature 
to  lay  an  impost,  for  the  use  of  Congress,  on  goods  im¬ 
ported  into  this  State  similar  to  that  which  may  be  laid  bv 
Congress  on  goods  imported  into  the  adopting  states.  This 
shows  the  committee  what  is  my  intention,  and  on  what  foot¬ 
ing  we  are  to  be.  This  being  the  case  I  will  forfeit  my  life 
we  shall  come  in  for  a  share.  It  is  said  that  all  the  offices  of 
Congress  will  be  filled,  and  we  shall  have  no  share  in  appoint¬ 
ing  the  officers.  This  is  an  objection  of  very  little  impor¬ 
tance.  Gentlemen  need  not  be  in  such  haste.  If  left  eighteen 
months  or  two  years  without  offices,  it  is  no  great  cause  of 
alarm.  The  gentleman  further  said  that  we  could  send  no 
representatives,  but  must  send  ambassadors  to  Congress,  as 
a  foreign  power.  I  assert  the  contrary ;  and  that  whenever  a 
convention  of  the  states  is  called,  North  Carolina  will  be 
called  on  like  the  rest.  ...  I  have  in  my  proposition  adopted 



Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

Ibid.,  250 

word  for  word  the  Virginia  amendments,  with  one  or  two 
additional  ones.  .  .  .  There  is  no  doubt  we  shall  obtain 

our  amendments  and  come  into  the  Union  when  we  please.” 
He  mentioned  Mr.  Jefferson’s  wish  that  nine  states  should 
ratify  and  four  reject  the  Constitution.  “ Amendments 
might  be  by  conventions  or  by  the  legislatures.  In  either 
case,  it  may  take  up  about  eighteen  months.  For  my  part 
I  had  rather  be  eighteen  years  out  of  the  Union  than  adopt 
it  in  its  present  defective  form.”  His  proposition  and  re¬ 
marks  led  to  a  very  hot  debate.  Davie  declared  that  it 
would  be  arrogantly  saying  to  the  other  states :  “I  wish  to 
be  in  copartnership  with  you,  but  the  terms  must  be  as  I 
please.”  Finally,  after  a  long  day  of  animated  discussion, 
Jones’s  resolution  was  agreed  to  by  a  great  majority  and 
was  reported  to  the  Convention.  It  provided  that  a  bill  of 
rights  and  twenty-six  amendments  should  be  laid  before 
Congress  for  consideration  previous  to  the  ratification  of  the 
Constitution  on  the  part  of  North  Carolina.  xA.t  that  time 
the  action  of  New  York  was  unknown;  and  indeed  it  was 
thought  that  that  state  would  not  adopt  the  Constitution  ;  but 
Virginia’s  action  influenced  the  Anti-Federals  at  the  North 
as  well  as  in  North  Carolina.  With  great  difficulty,  Iredell 
on  Saturday,  August  2,  obtained  a  vote  on  his  proposition  to 
ratify  at  once,  while  recommending  five  amendments.  This 
motion  received  84  votes,  while  there  were  184  in  the  nega¬ 
tive.  And  then  the  report  of  the  committee  of  the  whole, 
being  the  resolution  offered  by  Willie  Jones,  was  agreed  to 
by  the  reverse  vote,  184  to  84.  Willie  Jones  then  offered  his 
other  proposition,  which  was  agreed  to ;  that  as  the  Conven¬ 
tion  had  thought  proper  neither  to  ratify  nor  reject  the  Con¬ 
stitution,  it  was  recommended  to  the  Legislature  to  pass  a 
law  for  collecting  an  impost  for  the  use  of  Congress  similar 
to  any  that  Congress  should  pass. 



The  Convention  then  passed  an  ordinance  directing  the 
General  Assembly  to  provide  for  the  selection  of  a  site  for 
the  State  capital  within  ten  miles  of  the  plantation  of  Isaac 
Hunter  in  the  county  of  Wake — that  being  as  near  as  pos¬ 
sible  the  geographical  center  of  the  State  and  on  the  great 
highways  leading  to  every  section.  After  being  in  session 
eleven  days  on  Monday,  August  4,  the  body  adjourned. 


The  Separate  State 

The  people  divided. — The  Federals  strong. — Congress  provides 
for  election  of  President,  etc— Indian  war  feared. — The  proposed 
capital. — The  two  houses  at  points.- — Another  convention  agreed 
on — Delegates  appointed  to  New  York’s  proposed  Federal  Conven¬ 
tion. — Johnston  again  Governor. — Jones’s  progressive  action. — The 
County  of  Tennessee. — The  District  of  Mero  formed. — Andrew 
Jackson. — Iredell  honored. — New  enterprises. — South  Carolina 
negroes. — The  Confederacy  ends  on  March  4. — The  interregnum. 
— April  30  Washington  President. — The  bust  of  John  Paul 
Jones. — The  State  continues  as  a  sovereign  State. — Its  prosperity. 
— Wilmington’s  commerce. — North  Carolina  pays  her  debt  to  the 
Confederacy. — The  Indians  pacified — Federal  legislation. — The 
election  for  Assemblymen  and  for  delegates. — The  House  elects 
Caswell  speaker. — The  Convention  elects  Johnston  to  preside. — 
The  Assembly  takes  recess. — The  Convention  ratifies  the  Consti¬ 
tution. — Davie  in  the  Assembly. — Federal  elections  provided  for. — 
The  western  territory  ceded. — At  Davie’s  instance  the  University 
established. — Fayetteville  again  prevents  locating  the  capital. — 
The  death  of  Caswell — of  Hooper — of  Maclaine — of  Penn. — The 
Great  Experiment. 

The  new 

Nine  other  states  having  ratified  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States  by  June,  1788,  the  Constitution  by  its  terms 
took  effect  between  them.  The  Confederation  that  had 
been  agreed  to  be  perpetual  was  thus  supplanted  by  a  new 
Union  in  which  North  Carolina  had  no  part.  The  Conti¬ 
nental  Congress,  however,  continued  its  session,  making 
provision  for  the  establishment  of  the  new  government.  In 
the  State  the  result  of  the  Convention  had  been  so  strongly 
foreshadowed  by  the  returns  of  the  election  of  members 
that  while  it  did  not  conform  to  the  wishes  of  the  Federal 
leaders  it  did  not  disappoint  their  expectations.  Soon  after 
adjournment  it  became  known  that  New  York,  while  calling 
for  a  new  convention,  had  followed  the  example  of  Virginia, 
so  that  besides  North  Carolina  the  only  state  that  did  not 
ratify  was  Rhode  Island,  and  she  was  held  in  such  low  es¬ 
teem  that  her  nonaction  gave  no  concern.  Generally 
throughout  the  Union  while  the  Anti-Federal  party  had 



shown  great  strength,  it  had  failed  of  success.  The  only 
respectable  state  not  acceding  to  the  Union,  there  was  rea¬ 
son  to  hope  North  Carolina  would  not  long  remain  sepa¬ 
rated  from  her  sisters.  But  the  opposition  had  been  carried 
to  a  great  height  and,  as  the  issue  involved  government 
affecting  the  happiness,  prosperity  and  liberties  of  the  peo¬ 
ple,  the  defeated  partisans,  numbering  nearly  one-half  of  the 
inhabitants,  were  sore,  sullen  and  dissatisfied.  In  their 
view,  the  obstinacy  of  their  opponents  was  very  reprehen¬ 
sible  and  harsh  epithets  were  hurled  at  Willie  Jones  and 
his  coadjutors  and  much  bitterness  was  evolved. 

The  election 

As  the  August  election  for  assemblymen  approached  it 
was  evident  that  events  had  weakened  the  influence  of  the 
Anti-Federalists.  The  potent  argument  against  isolation  was 
perhaps  strengthened  by  the  hope  that  some  of  the  public 
characters  entertained  of  sharing  in  the  offices  of  the  new 
government.  Thus  at  the  election  the  policy  of  rejecting 
was  not  generally  approved  and  the  Anti-Federals  sustained 
a  reverse.  Especially  at  the  west  was  the  change  of  sen¬ 
timent  noted.  Surry  elected  three  Federals ;  and  in  Rowan 
both  Rutherford  and  Locke,  theretofore  invincible  popular 
idols,  were  beaten.  Still  the  general  result  was  unknown 
and  Willie  Jones,  whose  following  was  so  large  in  the  Con¬ 
vention,  expected  to  control  the  Assembly.  He,  himself,  at 
variance  with  his  habits  of  life,  had  stood  for  the  Senate  and 
was  returned  a  member  of  that  body,  while  General  Person 
was  again  elected  to  the  House.  They  had  cooperated  in 
their  purposes,  first  to  reject  and  then  to  await  amendments; 
and  now  assuming  that  they  still  controlled,  they  announced 
their  plan  to  remain  out  of  the  Union  for  a  period  of  five 
or  six  years.  Halifax  was  one  of  the  seats  of  intelligence 
whence  radiated  the  influence  that  swayed  the  actions  of  the 
interior  communities;  and  although  his  brother  Allen,  his 
brother-in-law,  Colonel  Ashe,  and  all  of  his  friends  who 



Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 



habitually  gathered  around  his  fireside  were  now  in  favor 
of  immediate  adoption,  Colonel  Jones  adhered  with  persist¬ 
ence  to  his  plan,  and  was  constantly  addressing  the  people 
and  pointing  out  the  disastrous  consequences  that  would 
possibly  attend  the  supremacy  of  the  Federal  judiciary. 
But  as  the  sentiment  in  Virginia  had  at  the  outset  strength¬ 
ened  Anti-Federalism  in  Carolina,  now  her  action  in  rati¬ 
fying  placed  the  State  in  a  predicament  that  constrained  her 
to  accept  the  Constitution  and  the  new  Union  as  the  less 
of  two  evils.  Thus  the  prospect  was  hopeful  for  ratifica¬ 
tion  ;  and  the  Federal  leaders,  taking  heart,  entered  with 
enthusiasm  upon  a  new  agitation.  Iredell  published  an  ad¬ 
dress  to  the  voters,  and  Johnston,  Davie,  Steele  and  others 
distributed  petitions  for  the  people  in  the  several  counties 
to  sign,  praying  for  a  new  convention.  All  was  activity 
in  the  Federal  camp.  Indeed,  leading  men  in  the  other 
southern  states,  realizing  the  importance  to  southern  inter¬ 
ests  of  North  Carolina’s  aid  in  Congress,  urged  the  Feder¬ 
alists  to  renew  action. 

Providing  for  the  new  government 

In  the  meanwhile  Congress,  early  in  September,  in  order 
to  inaugurate  the  new  government,  provided  for  the  election 
of  members  of  Congress  and  presidential  electors.  These 
latter  were  to  be  appointed  in  January  and  were  to  choose 
a  President  in  February.  The  Senators  and  Representatives 
were  to  assemble  in  New  York  on  March  4,  and  on  that  day, 
Sept.  1788  when  the  Congress  should  be  organized,  the  President  was 
to  be  inaugurated.  This  act  was  officially  communicated 
to  Governor  Johnston  in  September;  and  otherwise  it  seemed 
to  be  considered  that  the  delay  in  North  Carolina’s  accession 
was  merely  temporary.  But  the  fall  passed  in  uncertainty, 
all  depending  on  the  temper  of  the  Assembly,  which  could 
not  be  ascertained  with  accuracy. 



The  Assembly 

The  Assembly  was  to  meet  at  Fayetteville  on  the  first 
of  November,  and  as  the  members  came  in  it  was  found  that 
other  matters  than  the  Union  were  engaging  their  attention. 
For  a  time  western  affairs  and  the  probability  of  an  Indian 
war  were  uppermost  in  their  minds ;  for  there  was  reason 
to  apprehend  that  a  general  confederacy  had  been  formed  by 
all  the  tribes,  those  at  the  North  being  supplied  with  arms 
and  ammunition  by  the  British.  The  situation  was  alarm¬ 
ing,  and  as  the  inhabitants  on  the  Cumberland  feared  that 
North  Carolina  alone  could  not  adequately  protect  them, 
the  members  representing  those  counties  now  desired  to  be 
under  the  protection  of  the  Union. 

Another  subject  of  absorbing  interest  to  many  members 
was  the  ordinance  of  the  convention  fixing  the  seat  of  gov¬ 
ernment  in  Wake  County.  All  the  influence  of  the  Cape 
Fear  region  was  actively  arrayed  in  opposition,  and  the  ad¬ 
vantage  of  selecting  as  the  capital  Fayetteville,  a  thriving 
town  at  the  head  of  navigation  with  highways  affording 
transportation  facilities  to  the  western  counties,  was  pressed 
with  vigor.  But  the  Albemarle  members  were  opposed  to 

However,  overshadowing  these  local  subjects  the  great 
matter  was  that  the  State  was  separated  from  the  Union. 
In  the  first  days  of  the  session  the  Federals  were  sanguine 
in  their  expectations  of  a  new  convention.  Martin  and  Sit- 
greaves,  both  Federalists,  were  reelected  speakers,  but  their 
personal  popularity  was  also  a  factor  and  their  success  was 
not  a  sure  test  of  the  main  matter.  In  his  message,  Gov¬ 
ernor  Johnston  urged:  “The  first  object  which  calls  for 
your  serious  attention  is  the  situation  into  which  the  State 
will  be  cast  on  the  meeting  of  the  Congress  of  the  United 
States” ;  and  petitions  were  presented  from  nineteen  coun¬ 
ties,  among  them  Lincoln,  Mecklenburg,  Rowan,  Randolph 
and  Surry,  and  even  Halifax,  praying  for  a  new  convention. 

Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

Out  of 
the  Union 

S.  R„  XXIr 

Ibid.,  21 



Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

S.  R.,  XX, 

S.  R.,  XXI, 

Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

S.  R„  XXI, 

S.  R.,  XX, 

But  the  matter  was  in  doubt.  At  length,  after  most  of  the 
members  had  arrived,  on  the  night  of  the  eighth  day  of 
the  session,  a  secret  meeting  was  held,  and  it  was  ascer¬ 
tained  that  the  Federals  had  a  small  majority  of  the  mem¬ 
bers.  The  Senate  was  Federal,  but  the  Anti-Federals  had 
a  majority  in  the  House.  It  would  seem  that  Willie  Jones 
early  realized  the  futility  of  opposing  the  popular  current 
which  was  now  setting  in  favor  of  the  Union.  On  Monday, 
the  ioth  of  November,  he  moved  that  the  Senate  should  pro¬ 
pose  a  conference  of  the  two  houses,  a  joint  meeting,  to  hear 
the  petitions  read,  and  to  deliberate  on  them  and  to  determine 
on  the  propriety  of  convening  a  new  convention.  The 
Senate  assented  and  sent  the  message,  but  the  House  did  not 
accept  the  invitation. 

The  strongest  argument  for  action  was  based  on  the  iso¬ 
lated  situation  the  State  would  be  in  were  she  to  remain  out 
of  the  Union;  but  there  came  a  report  that,  under  the  in¬ 
fluence  of  Patrick  Henry,  the  Assembly  of  Virginia  would 
refuse  to  participate  in  the  organization  of  the  new  gov¬ 
ernment,  thus  virtually  reversing  the  action  of  that  state. 
Besides,  New  York  had  proposed  another  convention  of  the 
states,  and  there  was  a  hope  that  such  a  body  might  convene. 
It  was,  perhaps,  because  of  the  reported  reactionary  move¬ 
ment  in  Virginia  and  the  expectation  of  a  new  Federal  con¬ 
vention  that  the  House  declined  to  join  in  the  proposed  con¬ 
ference,  and  that  General  Person  secured  on  the  15th  a 
vote  in  the  House  of  55  to  4 7  for  his  resolution  declaring 
that:  “It  is  now  not  expedient  to  call  a  new  convention.” 
This  declaration,  however,  did  not  deter  Caswell  and  the 
other  Federal  leaders  from  pressing  forward.  The  logic 
of  the  situation  was  irresistible,  and  the  strength  of  the 
Federals  was  sufficient  to  bear  down  the  opposition.  Two 
days  after  the  House  had  spoken  Caswell  offered  in  the 
Senate  a  resolution  that  “another  convention  should  be 
called  for  the  purpose  of  reconsidering  the  new  Constitu¬ 
tion,”  and  it  passed  by  the  decisive  vote  of  30  to  15. 



Jones’s  attitude 

Willie  Jones  voted  in  the  negative ;  but  immediately  on  the 
adoption  of  the  resolution,  either  in  deference  to  the  popular 
will,  or  perhaps  because  of  his  position  as  chairman  of  the 
Committee  on  Public  Business,  he  introduced  a  formal 
joint  resolution  providing  for  a  new  convention  to  deliber¬ 
ate  and  determine  on  the  said  Constitution,  and  amendments, 
if  any.  He  proposed  that  each  county  should  be  represented 
by  three  members,  and  that  the  election  should  be  held  in 
August  and  the  convention  meet  in  October.  Thus  he 
would  secure  a  year  for  developments  and  deliberation;  but 
Caswell  was  not  content  with  the  proposed  delay  and  sought 
to  make  haste  by  holding  the  election  on  December  15,  al¬ 
lowing  less  than  a  month  for  the  canvass.  While  the  sen¬ 
timent  in  the  Senate  was  overwhelming  for  Union,  this 
haste  was  not  approved,  and  perhaps  in  view  of  Colonel 
Jones’s  attitude  and  to  conciliate  his  followers,  Caswell’s 
proposition  was  voted  down  and  Jones’s  resolution  was 
passed  without  amendment.  The  concession  was  apparently 
effective,  for  although  but  two  days  had  elapsed  since  the 
House  had  declared  against  a  convention,  on  receiving 
this  resolution,  that  body  informed  the  Senate  that  if  the 
representation  should  be  increased  to  five  members  from 
each  county,  and  if  the  convention  should  meet  on  the 
third  Monday  of  November  it  would  concur  in  the  adoption 
of  the  resolution.  The  Senate  thereupon  made  the  proposed 
amendments,  and  the  House  concurred ;  and  the  Federals  re¬ 
joiced  at  this  accomplishment  of  their  purposes.  The  diver¬ 
gence  between  Jones  and  General  Person  was  further  empha¬ 
sized,  when  a  few  days  later,  the  latter,  manifesting  his  dis¬ 
satisfaction,  moved  to  reconsider  the  resolution  to  call  the 
convention ;  but  the  House  was  no  longer  under  his  control, 
and  his  motion  failed,  only  32  voting  with  him  while  50  sus¬ 
tained  the  previous  action  of  the  Assembly.  The  struggle 
was  over  and  Federalism  was  triumphant.  There  was,  how- 

s.  r.,  xx, 


Ibid.,  516 

S.  R.,  XXI, 

Ibidi.,  130 



S.  R.,  XXI, 

S.  R.,  XX, 



S.  R.,  XX, 

Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

ever,  an  expectation  that  the  call  made  by  New  York  for  an¬ 
other  Federal  convention  might  materialize,  and  to  be  ready 
for  the  contingency,  should  such  a  body  convene,  the  Assem¬ 
bly  elected  delegates  to  represent  the  State  in  it.  Governor 
Johnston  and  other  Federals,  while  not  in  sympathy  with 
that  movement  and  declining  to  be  candidates  for  the  honor 
of  representing  the  State,  made  no  opposition,  and  Person, 
McDowell,  Locke,  Bloodworth  and  Lenoir  were  chosen. 
Delegates  from  New  York,  Pennsylvania  and,  perhaps,  other 
states  did  subsequently  meet,  but  as  the  movement  was  with¬ 
out  the  countenance  of  the  Continental  Congress,  it  had  no 

Other  business 

d  he  Assembly,  being  now  in  thorough  accord  with  the 
Federal  leaders,  no  longer  delayed  the  election  of  a  gov¬ 
ernor  for  the  ensuing  year,  and  the  honor  was  again  awarded 
to  Governor  Johnston.  Willie  Jones  was  chairman  of  the 
committee  to  prepare  bills  of  a  public  nature,  and  as  such  he 
presented  many  bills  of  importance.  Perhaps  not  all  of 
these  measures  originated  with  himself,  but  his  advocacy  of 
some  of  them  gives  assurance  that  he  was  a  statesman  of 
breadth  of  view,  and  superior  to  the  environments  of  the 
day,  and  possessed  of  sound  judgment  and  correct  appre¬ 
hension.  North  Carolina’s  trade  was  largelv  carried  on 
through  the  ports  of  the  adjoining  states  and  it  was  consid¬ 
ered  that  her  commerce  was  hampered  because  her  paper 
currency  had  fallen  in  value,  the  depreciation  being  about 
30  per  cent.  As  a  corrective,  Jones  offered  a  measure 
providing  that  debts  should  be  recovered  according  to  the 
contract.  Although  this  bill  failed  a  beneficial  result  was 
reached  by  the  revenue  act,  which  contained  a  direction  to 
collect  a  tax  for  the  sinking  fund,  so  large  an  amount  of 
currency  being  thereby  withdrawn  from  the  public  that 
within  a  year  State  paper,  becoming  scarce,  was  on  a  par 
with  specie. 



Colonel  Jones,  although  one  of  the  largest  slaveholders  in 
the  State,  perhaps  partaking  the  views  of  Jefferson,  pre¬ 
sented  a  bill  forbidding  the  importation  of  slaves,  but  this 
measure  was  in  advance  of  the  times  and  it  then  failed. 
Another  proposition  made  by  him  was  apparently  more  in 
harmony  with  the  views  of  those  who  had  been  reckoned 
as  conservatives  than  with  the  principles  of  ultra  democracy 
commonly  attributed  to  him.  He  offered  a  resolution  to  the 
effect  that  “representation  under  the  Constitution  was  op¬ 
pressive  and  burdensome,  and  that  representation  ought  to 
be  distributed  in  proportion  to  the  share  which  the  counties 
contribute  to  the  public  fund.”  The  vote  on  this  resolution 
was  a  tie  in  the  Senate,  and  it  devolving  on  Speaker  Martin 
to  give  the  casting  vote,  he  defeated  it.  But  the  subject 
was  not  disposed  of ;  and  the  Senate  passed  a  resolution 
submitting  it  to  the  Convention  to  “take  into  consideration 
the  provisions  of  the  State  Constitution  fixing  representa¬ 
tion  in  the  Senate  and  the  House,  and  to  alter  them  so  that 
the  Legislature  may  be  less  expensive  and  its  measures  the 
more  stable  and  uniform.”  This  was  the  first  manifestation 
of  dissatisfaction  with  the  working  of  the  Constitution 
which  gave  to  each  county,  despite  inequalities  in  property 
and  in  population,  an  equal  vote  in  the  Assembly ;  and  al¬ 
though  later  that  subject  entered  largely  into  the  politics 
of  the  State  it  was  long  before  any  change  was  effected. 

The  western  country 

On  the  Cumberland,  the  Indians  were  hostile  and  despite 
the  active  efforts  of  Gen.  Joseph  Martin,  who  was  in  com¬ 
mand,  the'  settlers  were  much  harassed ;  and  they  were  also 
greatly  concerned  by  the  denial  by  Spain  of  their  right  to 
navigate  the  Mississippi  River.  They  desired  to  raise  a 
volunteer  force  of  fifteen  thousand  men  to  crush  the  In¬ 
dians  and  wished  to  be  under  the  protection  of  the  Union 
and  of  the  Federal  forces. 

s.  r.,  xx, 


Ibid.,  566 

tional  reform 

S.  R.,  XX, 



S.  R.,  XX, 


S.  R.,  XXI, 




Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

The  eastern  members  were  not  willing  to  precipitate  an 
Indian  war  and  the  situation  was  embarrassing.  As  a  solu¬ 
tion  of  the  difficulties,  notwithstanding  North  Carolina  had 
not  then  become  a  member  of  the  new  Union,  Willie  Jones, 
doubtless  regarding  the  delay  as  merely  temporary,  brought 
forward  a  bill  to  cede  the  western  territory  to  the  United 
States ;  but  the  Assembly  was  not  ready  for  that  step,  and 
the  proposition  went  over  to  the  next  session.  Instead, 
the  county  of  Davidson  was  again  divided,  the  new  county 
being  named  Tennessee,  the  first  application  of  that  name 
to  any  territorial  division ;  and  the  three  counties  on  the 
Cumberland  were  formed  into  a  district,  called  Mero,  in 
honor  of  the  Spanish  governor  at  Mobile,  whose  kindliness 
had  won  for  him  the  regard  of  the  western  inhabitants. 
For  this  district  military  officers  were  at  once  appointed, 
and  also  a  judge;  but  in  the  act  establishing  the  courts  no 
provision  was  made  for  a  state’s  attorney.  Thus  the  judge, 
John  McNary,  found  it  necessary  to  appoint  a  state’s  at¬ 
torney  for  the  Superior  Court  of  Davidson,  November 
term,  1788,  and  for  the  district  of  Mero  the  next  year. 
He  appointed  Andrew  Jackson,  a  young  man  who  was  born 
in  the  present  county  of  Union,  and  who  had  been  admitted 
to  the  practice  of  law  in  Surry  County  in  1787,  although 
barely  of  age. 

To  carry  into  effect  the  ordinance  of  the  Convention  fixing 
the  seat  of  government  in  Wake  County,  Jones  introduced 
a  bill  appointing  commissioners  for  that  purpose ;  but  the 
influence  of  Fayetteville,  perhaps  with  the  aid  of  the  ex¬ 
treme  western  members,  was  too  powerful  to  be  overcome, 
and  the  measure  failed.  Other  bills  proposed  by  Jones 
likewise  were  rejected.  On  the  other  hand,  Iredell,  the  most 
active  advocate  of  the  Federal  Constitution,  was  honored  by 
being  elected  a  Councilor  of  State.  Wills  and  Hodges, 
who  were  allied  with  the  Federal  party,  were  made  State 
printers,  and  were  directed  to  print  the  Acts  of  Assembly  for 
distribution ;  and  Iredell  was  appointed  a  commissioner  to 



revise  all  the  laws  of  the  State.  Moreover,  Rowan  County 
was  divided,  and  the  new  county  set  off  was  named  Iredell 
in  compliment  to  him.  While  these  high  honors  were  being 
heaped  on  Iredell,  the  implacable  Maclaine  was  rejoicing 
that  “Jones  was  unable  to  secure  the  passage  of  a  single 
bill.”  Still  Jones  exerted  positive  influence,  and  Maclaine, 
fearing  his  return  to  the  Assembly  of  1789,  wrote  in  Sep¬ 
tember:  “I  am  persuaded  we  might  have  carried  our 
point  last  year,  but  for  Willie  Jones ;  and  therefore  I  am 
anxious  to  know  whether  he  is  a  member.”  However,  long 
before  the  session  ended  Jones  obtained  leave  of  absence  and 
did  not  return.  He  soon  removed  from  Halifax,  settling 
in  Wake  at  the  new  seat  of  government,  but  he  was  never 
again  in  the  public  service. 

Progressive  measures 

Former  Assemblies  had  sought  to  promote  manufacturing 
enterprises  by  offering  bounties,  and  now  an  effort  was 
made  to  stimulate  the  erection  of  iron  works  by  the  offer 
of  three  thousand  acres  of  land  for  every  furnace  that 
should  be  established.  And  in  the  interest  of  commerce 
another  effort  was  made  to  secure  a  navigable  passage  into 
the  ocean  near  Roanoke  Inlet,  and  Governor  Johnston, 
Nathaniel  Allen  and  others  were  appointed  commissioners 
to  receive  subscriptions  “for  cutting  Raleigh  Canal.”  Nor 
was  inventive  genius  lacking.  Thomas  Bloodworth,  a 
brother  of  the  politician,  applied  to  the  Assembly  for  a 
patent  for  the  building  of  mills  on  the  principle  of  the 
oblique  wheel,  doubtless  now  known  as  the  turbine  wheel. 

The  negroes  of  the  Loyalists 

In  1781  General  Sumter  had  offered  a  negro  taken  from 
the  South  Carolina  Tories  to  each  private  soldier  who  should 
enlist  in  his  command.  A  considerable  number  of  Caro¬ 
linians  enlisted  and  shared  the  fortunes  of  the  “Swamp 
Fox,”  and  they  received  as  compensation  negroes  that  had 





S.  R.,  XXIV, 

March,  1789 

S.  R.,  XXI, 

belonged  to  South  Carolina  Loyalists.  Suits  were  now 
threatened  for  the  recovery  of  these  slaves  by  their  former 
masters.  The  Assembly  therefore  directed  that  in  every 
such  case  a  verdict  and  judgment  should  be  given  to  the 

The  claims  of  the  State  against  the  Confederacy  were 
still  unsettled  and  amounted  to  14,000,000  pounds,  Con¬ 
tinental  currency,  and  2,376,000  pounds  specie.  To  liqui¬ 
date  such  claims  Congress  provided  a  commission,  and 
Dr.  Williamson,  in  addition  to  his  duties  as  a  delegate  to 
the  Continental  Congress,  which  he  continued  to  attend  to 
its  last  day,  was  appointed  the  agent  of  the  State  to  appear 
before  this  commission  and  settle  these  claims.  Although 
Williamson  remained  in  attendance  and  although  Congress 
could  legislate  on  some  subjects,  yet  during  the  entire  winter 
seven  states  were  not  represented  at  the  same  time,  so 
that  he  could  not  bring  to  the  attention  of  the  body  the  in¬ 
structions  given  by  the  previous  Assembly. 

The  New  Union 

As  the  Congress  of  the  United  States  was  to  begin  on 
March  4,  to  mark  the  end  of  the  old  and  the  beginning  of 
the  new  government,  salutes  were  fired  in  New  York  City 
at  noon  of  that  day  and  the  bells  of  all  the  churches  rang 
out  peals  of  joy.  The  members  of  the  old  Congress  dis¬ 
persed  ;  those  not  elected  to  the  new  Congress  going  home. 
Thus  the  Confederacy  ended;  and  North  Carolina  no  longer 
was  in  the  Union  of  the  states. 

The  gathering  of  the  new  officers  at  New  York  was  slow. 
On  the  4th  of  March  only  eight  Senators  and  fourteen  Rep¬ 
resentatives  met  at  the  public  building.  Indeed  a  month 
passed  before  the  Senate  could  organize,  the  interval  being 
known  as  the  interregnum.  It  was  not  until  April  6  that 
the  Senate  organized  and  the  electoral  votes  were  counted. 
Being  informed  of  his  election.  General  Washington  left 
Mount  Vernon  on  April  16,  and  on  the  last  day  of  the 



month  was  inaugurated  and  the  new  government  was  in 
force.  Robert  Burton,  also  one  of  the  delegates,  did  not 
remain  in  New  York  to  the  end  of  the  Confederacy,  but  his 
patriotism  and  elevated  sentiments  are  alike  manifested  in  a 
letter  to  Governor  Johnston :  “As  those  men  who  have 
fought  for  us  in  the  great  contest  cannot  be  held  in  too 
high  esteem,  and  as  Chevalier  John  Paul  Jones  is  among 
the  foremost  who  derived  their  appointment  from  this  State 
that  deserves  to  be  held  in  remembrance  to  the  latest  ages, 
I  take  the  liberty  of  offering  to  the  State,  as  a  present 
through  you,  its  chief  magistrate,  the  bust  of  that  great 
man  and  good  soldier  to  perpetuate  his  memory.” 

Out  of  the  Union 

The  dissolution  of  the  Confederacy  wrought  no  change 
in  State  affairs.  For  years  North  Carolina  had  imposed 
and  collected  customs  duties  and  had  regulated  her  commerce 
and  her  currency,  and  her  judiciary,  as  her  Legislature, 
was  supreme  in  the  exercise  of  the  powers  conferred  by  her 
Constitution.  The  powers  delegated  to  the  Continental 
Congress  related  particularly  to  foreign  affairs,  and  it  was 
chiefly  as  to  these  matters  that  the  State  was  affected  by  the 
passing  away  of  the  Confederacy. 

During  this  period  of  separation  the  State  exercised 
every  attribute  of  sovereignty  and  opened  communications 
with  the  Spanish  authorities  involving  foreign  relations. 
The  Treasury  was  in  easy  circumstances.  The  annual  ex¬ 
penditures  for  administration,  including  £37,500  for  the  As¬ 
sembly,  were  bare  £50,000;  while  the  receipts  in  cash  were 
quite  that  amount,  and  an  equal  amount  in  certificates.  At 
the  settlement  with  the  Treasurer  at  the  end  of  the  year  1790, 
there  was  in  the  Treasury  £49,454;  due  from  the  sheriffs, 
£72,000  in  cash  and  £69,356  in  certificates,  besides  £15,629 
due  from  individuals;  and  the  healthy  condition  of  the 
Treasury  then  led  to  a  reduction  of  taxation. 


John  Paul 

S.  R.,  XXI, 





S.  R.,  XXI, 




Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

Vol.  I,  16 

Life  of 
Iredell,  II, 

Ibid.,  304 

The  people  were  enjoying  prosperity.  Accessions  were 
continually  being  made  to  the  population.  Business  was 
good,  particularly  at  the  east,  although  necessarily  the 
western  counties  suffered  for  the  want  of  transportation. 
While  thus  separated,  the  State  was  particularly  prosperous, 
industry  reaping  substantial  rewards.  Commerce  had  im¬ 
proved  and  during  the  fall  and  winter  of  1788-89,  more 
vessels  sailed  out  of  the  port  of  Wilmington  than  at  any 
previous  time  since  the  opening  of  the  Revolution;  lumber, 
staves,  shingles,  etc.,  being  in  great  demand  for  the  West 
Indies.  Likewise  the  business  of  the  other  ports  had  greatly 
increased,  and  foreign  seamen  were  found  in  all  these  marts 
of  commerce ;  so  that  the  better  to  meet  the  requirements  of 
the  new  conditions,  special  maritime  courts  had  been  estab¬ 
lished  to  be  held  at  the  four  ports,  with  jurisdiction  of  cases 
arising  in  mercantile  matters  and  where  one  of  the  parties 
was  a  foreign  merchant  or  a  foreign  seaman.  The  customs 
duties  brought  in  a  substantial  revenue ;  while  the  taxes 
laid  to  be  paid  in  certificates  as  well  as  in  money  were  amply 
productive.  Because  of  her  great  trade  a  French  Consul 
was  .  settled  at  Wilmington  and  vessels  intended  for  the 
French  trade  had  to  be  cleared  from  that  port. 

Prices  were  remunerative.  Provisions  and  everything 
else  except  house  rent  were  cheaper  in  New  York  than  in 
Edenton.  Social  life  was  in  full  sway.  When  “the  divine 
Polly  Long  married  Bassett  Stith  at  Halifax,  the  nuptials 
were  celebrated  by  twenty-two  consecutive  dinner  parties, 
each  dinner  being  succeeded  by  a  dance,  and  all  terminating 
with  a  general  ball.”  Newspapers  were  published  at  Fay¬ 
etteville,  Wilmington,  Edenton  and  Halifax.  But  in  the 
isolated  interior  where  there  were  no  sawmills  to  make 
plank,  nor  brickkilns,  and  where  transportation  was  diffi¬ 
cult,  life  was  primitive.  Still,  the  people  had  their  enjoy¬ 
ments  and  government  sat  lightly  on  them. 

There  was  no  change  in  the  administration  of  domestic 
affairs.  The  quietude,  the  general  advancement  of  all  in- 


terests  in  the  settled  portions  of  the  State,  and  the  settling 
of  the  western  portion  continued  to  progress  as  legitimate 
results  of  the  prudent  action  of  her  statesmen. 

To  pay  her  obligation  to  the  Confederacy,  the  State  pur¬ 
chased  tobacco  with  State  currency,  and  sold  the  same  for 
specie  or  exchange.  Thus  in  May,  Governor  Johnston  of¬ 
fered  for  sale  one  thousand  hogsheads  of  tobacco ;  and  the 
Treasury  Board  wrote  to  him:  “If  the  State  of  North 
Carolina  at  this  junction  by  the  sale  of  this  tobacco  shall 
come  to  the  relief  of  the  General  Treasury,  it. will  be  ren- 
dering  a  service  honorable  to  themselves  and  highly  ac-  556 
ceptable  to  the  Union.” 

At  the  west 

At  the  west  the  hostility  of  the  Indians  inflamed  by  the 
encroachments  of  the  settlers  and  particularly  by  the  activity 
of  Sevier,  gave  great  concern.  Commissions  were  appointed 
to  bring  about  a  peace.  Finally  it  was  agreed  that  there 
should  be  an  exchange  of  prisoners,  the  Indians  and  the 
whites  having  about  an  equal  number  of  captives,  some 
twenty-eight  on  a  side.  But  to  make  a  treaty  it  was  nec-  ibid.,  547 
essary  for  the  Indians  to  assemble  in  large  numbers  and  it 
was  expensive  to  provide  sustenance  for  them.  Col.  John 
Steele,  one  of  the  commissioners  wrote :  “We  calculate 
upon  1,000  or  1,500  Indians  who  will  attend  the  Cherokee 
treaty,  to  say  nothing  of  the  whites.  The  estimated  ex¬ 
pense  for  thirty  days  was  1,200  bushels  of  corn;  100  horned 
cattle ;  50  bushels  of  salt ;  600  gallons  of  rum ;  40  soldiers, 

.  ’  ■  ^  Nov.,  1781 

linguists,  etc.”  It  was  Governor  Johnston’s  good  fortune 
so  to  conduct  affairs  as  to  allay  irritation,  induce  quietude 
and  promote  the  general  prosperity,  so  that  the  State  made 
more  satisfactory  progress  during  the  period  when  she  was 
not  in  the  Union  than  ever  before. 

1 10 



Life  of 

The  canvass 

As  the  time  came  on  for  the  August  elections,  the  rati¬ 
fication  of  the  Constitution  again  became  a  burning  question. 
Although  the  Federals  had  achieved  such  a  decided  victory 
in  the  Assembly,  the  Anti-Federals  were  not  quiescent. 
They  entered  actively  into  the  canvass  to  prevent  ratifica¬ 
tion.  Congress  was  dilatory  in  proposing  the  amendments 
desired  by  many  of  the  states,  and  the  antis  were  urging 
this  nonaction  on  the  attention  of  the  people.  But  to  the 
joy  of  the  Federals,  Madison  brought  forward  a  measure 
embodying  the  amendments,  and  that  argument  was  silenced. 
As  North  Carolina  was  not  a  member  of  the  Union,  her 
people  did  not  vote  for  either  Congressmen  or  President, 
and  the  laws  and  authority  of  the  United  States  did  not 
extend  to  her.  In  the  Tariff  act,  passed  July  31,  1789,  im¬ 
ports  of  merchandise  from  North  Carolina  paid  the  same 
duties  as  those  from  Europe,  while  her  local  productions 
entered  free  of  duty;  but  later,  a  duty  was  imposed  on  “rum, 
sugar,  and  chocolate”  produced  in  the  State  and  imported 
into  the  United  States;  nor  were  United  States  courts  pro¬ 
vided  for  the  State.  The  State  judiciary  was  supreme. 
The  judges  and  other  officers  who  preferred  to  be  inde¬ 
pendent  of  any  Federal  government  lent  their  influence 
against  ratification,  and  the  public  men  were  divided  not 
only  on  that  question,  but  as  well  on  a  proposition  to  make 
another  issue  of  paper  currency.  There  was  a  great  com¬ 
motion  throughout  the  State,  for  there  were  no  party  organ¬ 
izations  ;  and  in  addition  to  the  Assemblymen  five  delegates 
were  to  be  chosen  for  each  county.  As  a  consequence,  there 
were  great  changes  in  the  personnel  of  the  membership, 
a  majority  of  the  Assembly  being  new  members.  While 
11,  the  Federals  were  hopeful  that  they  had  carried  the  Con¬ 
vention,  yet  the  matter  was  in  doubt  and  could  not  be  ascer¬ 
tained  until  the  body  should  convene.  But  now  the  current 
was  running  strongly  for  the  Union.  In  September  Con- 



gress  submitted  the  amendments  to  the  states  and  there 
was  no  doubt  of  their  adoption.  The  reason  for  delay  had 
passed  away.  In  the  Convention  of  1788  William  Dickson 
was  in  the  opposition.  Just  following  the  second  conven¬ 
tion  he  wrote :  “I  was  convinced  of  the  propriety  as  well 
as  the  necessity  of  yielding  up  some  of  the  privileges  we 
enjoy  as  freemen  for  the  sake  of  a  more  permanent  and 
efficient  government,  but  I  believe  that  the  State  of  North 
Carolina  would  not  have  adopted  the  government  of  the 
United  States  for  this  principle  only.  It  was  a  matter  of 
necessity  rather  than  choice.  Virginia,  though  with  much 
reluctance,  and  the  other  states  around  us  having  previously 
adopted  the  Federal  plan,  the  State  of  North  Carolina  could 
not  remain  independent  of  the  Union  and  support  the 
dignity  of  the  State  itself.  Had  Virginia  only  stood  out 
with  us,  I  think  North  Carolina  would  not  have  been  in 
of  the  Union  yet."  Such  was  the  great  reason  why  North 
Carolina  abandoned  the  course  mapped  out  by  Willie  Jones 
in  1788,  and  did  not  await  the  adoption  of  the  amendments 
prior  to  ratification. 

The  Federals  successful 

The  Assembly  met  November  2  at  Fayetteville,  and  or¬ 
ganized  by  electing  Caswell  Speaker  of  the  Senate  and  Ca¬ 
barrus  Speaker  of  the  House,  and  their  election  indicated 
that  the  Federals  were  in  the  ascendancy,  and  this  was  still 
further  assured  when  the  Governor  was  reelected.  Many 
persons  were  members  of  both  the  Assembly  and  of  the 
Convention  and  on  the  14th  the  Assembly  adjourned  during 
the  sitting  of  the  Convention.  On  the  16th  the  Convention 
met.  There  was  still  a  violent  and  virulent  opposition  to 
the  Constitution,  but  the  Federals  were  in  control.  It  was 
well  attended,  there  being  272  members  present.  The  coun¬ 
ties  beyond  the  mountains  were  all  represented  and  among 
the  delegates  was  John  Sevier.  Halifax  sent  a  solid  Fed¬ 
eral  delegation.  Governor  Johnston  was  again  chosen  to 



Nov.,  1789 




In  the 

preside,  and  as  he  was  unwell,  Charles  Johnston  was 
elected  Vice-president,  the  antis  presenting  Judge  Spencer 
as  their  choice,  but  he  was  defeated. 

On  November  17  the  Convention  resolved  itself  into 
a  committee  of  the  whole  with  Col.  John  B.  Ashe  in  the 
chair,  and  four  days  were  passed  in  considering  the  instru¬ 
ment.  Judge  Spencer,  General  Brown,  McDowell,  Kenan, 
Person,  Yancey,  Bloodworth,  Strudwick,  Lenoir,  Graves, 
Pearsall,  and  Galloway  were  still  opposed,  but  the  Conven¬ 
tion  by  a  vote  of  195  to  77  determined  to  ratify,  at  the  same 
time  adopting  the  twelve  amendments  submitted  by  Con¬ 
gress.  Mr.  Galloway  offered  some  additional  amendments 
to  be  presented  by  the  Assembly,  which  also  were  adopted. 
The  Convention,  having  by  ordinance  granted  a  member  of 
the  House  to  Fayetteville  as  a  borough  town,  adjourned  on 
November  22.  North  Carolina ’had  been  disassociated  from 
her  sisters  since  the  formation  of  the  new  government  in 
the  spring,  but  now  was  again  a  member  of  the  LMion. 

The  election  of  Senators  and  Representatives  and  of  the 
President  had  occurred  nearly  a  year  earlier,  North  Caro¬ 
lina  having  no  part  in  the  election  of  the  first  President, 
nor  participating  in  the  first  session  of  Congress. 

Davie  in  the  Assembly 

In  the  Assembly  Davie,  who  represented  the  town  of 
Halifax,  was  the  leading  member.  He  introduced  many 
important  measures.  Now  that  the  State  was  to  be  repre¬ 
sented  in  Congress,  he  brought  forward  a  bill  to  provide 
for  the  election  of  Senators,  another  for  the  election  of 
five  Representatives,  one  being  allotted  to  the  region  be¬ 
yond  the  mountains,  the  election  to  be  held  in  February. 
The  proposed  amendments  to  the  Constitution  were  at  once 
ratified ;  and  no  further  objection  was  made  to  the  cession 
of  the  western  territory.  In  the  act  passed  to  convey  to 
the  United  States  that  territory,  provision  was  made  for 
the  soldiers  who  were  entitled  to  grants  under  former 


laws ;  and  it  was  stipulated  that  Congress  should  not  inter¬ 
fere  with  slavery  there. 

Tlie  University 

Many  academies  had  been  established  in  various  parts  of 
the  State,  and  facilities  for  acquiring  an  education  were 
within  the  reach  of  those  who  had  the  means  to  pay  the 
expenses ;  but  Davie  was  not  content,  and  he  developed  the 
idea  of  building  up  a  state  university.  At  that  time  the 
leading  institutions  of  learning  were  Harvard,  Yale,  Prince¬ 
ton,  and  William  and  Mary.  Martin  had  often  presented 
the  subject  of  education  to  the  Assembly  and  Hooper,  John¬ 
ston,  Iredell,  and  others  had  been  warm  in  their  advocacy 
of  such  measures.  Davie’s  proposition  to  establish  a  uni¬ 
versity  was  doubtless  the  subject  of  much  personal  com¬ 
munication  and  received  general  cooperation.  In  a  letter  to 
Iredell,  he  mentions  :  “The  university  bill  will  certainly  pass.” 
There  seems  to  have  been  no  particular  opposition  to  grant¬ 
ing  the  charter :  forty  of  the  leading  men  were  made  trus¬ 
tees,  and  that  was  followed  by  a  grant  of  certain  debts  due 
to  the  State  and  of  all  escheats.  This  was  the  first  propo¬ 
sition  for  state  aid  to  education,  and  one  member  was  so 
opposed  to  it  that  he  filed  a  protest.  A  bill  was  introduced 
to  carry  into  effect  the  ordinance  of  the  Convention  of 
1788  locating  the  seat  of  government,  but  again  the  friends 
of  Fayetteville  were  successful  in  opposing  it,  and  it  failed 
by  a  single  vote. 

Death  of  Caswell 

While  Caswell,  Martin  and  some  others  were  Federals, 
they  formed  a  faction  differing  with  Johnston,  Iredell, 
Davie,  and  Hooper ;  and  they  generally  held  the  popular  ear. 
Indeed  at  times  they  advocated  measures  of  temporary 
interest  although  violative  of  those  sound  policies  which  the 
other  faction  adhered  to  with  persistence.  Thus  in  1789, 
when  currency  became  scarce,  there  was  a  movement  to 



issue  more  notes,  advocated  by  Person,  the  Blounts,  and 
Caswell;  but  Caswell’s  sudden  death  deprived  them  of  his 
aid,  and  the  proposition  fell  through.  On  November  10 
during  the  session,  General  Caswell,  then  Speaker  of  the 
Senate,  died.  A  state  funeral  was  accorded  him,  and  the 
Assembly  went  into  mourning  for  him  for  one  month. 
Thus  passed  away  a  man  who  had  been  justly  esteemed  as 
one  of  the  foremost  of  his  contemporaries.  A  year  later, 
Hooper/  in  October,  1790,  the  State  mourned  the  death  of  William 
andCPenn  Hooper,  who  was  highly  endowed  by  nature  and  was  one 
of  the  most  cultivated  of  the  public  men  of  America — who, 
indeed,  earlier  than  the  Revolution,  had  “cast  his  philosophic 
eye  to  the  future”  and  beheld  a  new  nation  in  the  new 
world.  And  it  was  his  fortune,  as  a  signer  of  the  Decla¬ 
ration  of  Independence,  to  have  a  chief  hand  in  bringing 
the  vision  into  reality.  About  the  same  time  Maclaine,  like¬ 
wise  a  man  of  unusual  endowments,  but  possessed  of  a  bit¬ 
ing  tongue  and  violent  prejudices,  passed  away;  while 
earlier,  in  September,  1788,  John  Penn  died  at  his  home 
on  Aaron  Creek  in  Granville  County  in  the  48th  year  of  his 
age.  He  was  just  35  years  old  when  he  signed  the  Declara¬ 
tion  of  Independence.  He  was  born  in  Virginia  and  came 
to  this  State  when  33  years  old  and  quickly  took  rank  with 
the  other  unusual  men  of  that  period.  He  was  a  lawyer, 
“possessed  of  genius  and  eloquence  of  a  high  order.”  In 
1780  he  was  one  of  the  three  men  appointed  as  a  Board  of 
War  to  carry  on  the  military  operations  of  the  State  and 
he  performed  other  distinguished  services  until  his  death, 
which  was  greatly  lamented. 

Tlie  Great  Experiment 

The  early  Continental  Congresses  were  composed  of  del¬ 
egates  voluntarily  sent  by  the  several  colonies,  each  colony 
having  a  single  vote;  and  the  action  taken  was  by  “The 
Delegates  of  the  United  Colonies,”  who,  however,  could 
only  recommend. 



When  the  colonies  authorized  their  respective  delegates  to 
declare  independence,  each  colony  becoming  an  independent 
state,  their  delegates  united  in  a  “Declaration  by  the  Rep¬ 
resentatives  of  the  United  States  of  America  in  Congress 
Assembled.”  And  after  that  their  action  was  by  “The 
Delegates  of  the  United  States  in  Congress  Assembled.’’ 

It  was  then  proposed  to  unite  the  several  states  in  a  Con¬ 
federation.  The  proposed  agreement  ran : 

Articles  of  Confederation  and  perpetual  Union  between  the 
States  of  New  Hampshire,  North  Carolina,  etc. 

1.  The  style  of  the  Confederacy  shall  be  The  United  States  of 

2.  Each  state  retains  its  sovereignty,  freedom  and  independence 
and  every  power,  jurisdiction  and  right  which  is  not  by  this  Con¬ 
federation  expressly  delegated  to  the  United  States  in  Congress 

3.  The  said  states  hereby  severally  enter  into  a  firm  league  of 
friendship  with  each  other,  etc. 

By  Article  13  no  alteration  was  to  be  made  in  the  articles  March,  i78i 
“unless  confirmed  by  the  legislatures  of  every  state.”  Each 
state  had  to  adopt  this  Confederation.  It  was  not  until 
February  12,  1781,  that  Maryland  adopted  it  and  gave  in¬ 
structions  to  her  delegates  to  sign  the  articles.  On  Feb¬ 
ruary  22,  when  Washington  was  closing  in  on  Cornwallis, 
the  delegates  from  Maryland  appeared  and  took  their 
seats ;  and  March  1  was  set  for  completing  the  Confed¬ 
eration.  At  12  o'clock,  Thursday,  March  1,  the  hour  ar¬ 
rived.  The  articles  were  in  great  formality  signed  and  an¬ 
nounced.  “This  happy  event,”  said  the  Gazette,  “was  imme¬ 
diately  announced  by  the  discharge  of  artillery  on  land 
and  the  cannon  on  the  shipping  in  the  Delaware.”  At  two 
o’clock  the  President  of  Congress  received  the  congratu¬ 
lations  of  the  Minister  from  France,  the  civil  and  military 
officers,  and  civilians.  The  evening  was  closed  by  an  ele¬ 
gant  exhibition  of  fireworks.  The  frigate  Ariel,  com- 

.  Life  of 

manded  by  the  gallant  lohn  Paul  lones,  fired  a  feu  de  ioie  Thomas 

J  J  J  Smith 

and  was  beautifully  decorated.”  Now  Congress  was  no  (Konkie) 

135j  136 

longer  a  Congress  of  delegates  but  the  Congress  of  the 




The  dual 

states,  and  the  minutes  were  proudly  headed :  “The  United 
States  in  Congress  assembled.” 

Treaties  were  entered  into  with  foreign  nations:  one 
in  April,  1783,  between  “The  King  of  Sweden,  of  the  Goths 
and  Vandals,  etc.,  and  the  thirteen  United  States  of  North 
America;  to  wit:  New  Hampshire,  Massachusetts,  North 
Carolina,”  etc.,  naming  each  of  the  thirteen.  The  other 
treaties  were  similar. 

Great  Britain,  in  her  Treaty  of  Peace,  in  1783,  said: 
“Art.  1.  His  Britannic  Majesty,  acknowledging  the  said 
United  States,  viz:  New  Hampshire,  etc.,  North  Carolina, 
etc.,  (naming  each)  to  be  free,  sovereign  and  independent 
states  .  .  .  that  he  treats  with  them  as  such,”  etc. 

The  Constitution  proposed  in  1787  closely  followed  the 
Articles  of  Confederation  in  many  respects.  It  was  to  go 
into  operation  “between  the  states.”  It  was  to  be  amended 
only  by  the  states ;  but  it  could  be  amended  by  three-fourths 
of  the  states.  Each  state  had  its  equal  representation  in  the 
Senate ;  and  each  state  had  its  agreed  number  of  represent¬ 
atives,  and  the  President  was  to  be  elected  by  the  states, 
each  state  appointing  its  agreed  number  of  electors;  and  if 
no  election  then  each  state  having  a  single  vote.  And 
“treason  against  the  United  States  shall  consist  only  in 
levying  war  against  them.” 

But  while  the  Union  remained  a  confederation  of  the 
states,  it  was  something  more.  The  powers  of  government 
were  divided  into  two  parts,  those  relating  to  certain  speci¬ 
fied  objects  and  purposes  being  vested  in  the  Congress,  all 
others  remaining  with  the  several  states  respectively.  Powers 
of  government  could  be  conferred  on  Congress  only  by  the 
people  of  a  definite  number  of  states.  The  government 
established  thus  became  a  part  of  the  government  of  each 
state ;  and  there  was  created  a  confederated  union  of 
states,  not,  however,  a  union  of  the  people — so  that  there 
was  no  single  political  entity  known  as  a  nation  created. 


ii  7 

Indeed  so  foreign  to  each  other  do  the  states  remain  that 
the  Constitution  imposes  the  particular  duty  on  the  United 
States  “to  protect  each  state  from  invasion” ;  otherwise, 
apparently,  a  state  might  be  invaded  and  conquered  and  the 
United  States  have  no  duty  in  the  matter. 

As  heretofore  said,  in  the  original  draft  the  word  “Na¬ 
tional”  was  used,  but  later  it  was  carefully  eliminated,  the 
purpose  not  being  to  form  a  nation  of  people  but  a  union 
of  states ;  and  furthermore,  when  it  was  proposed  in  the  Con¬ 
vention  to  confer  on  Congress  the  right  to  make  a  state 
observe  the  Constitution,  the  proposition  was  at  once 

As  originally  drafted  and  adopted  the  Constitution  began: 
“We,  the  people  of  New  Hampshire,”  etc.,  “North  Caro¬ 
lina,”  etc.,  (naming  each  of  the  thirteen  states),  “do  ordain 
and  establish,”  etc.,  but  when  the  instrument  was  com¬ 
mitted  to  the  committee  on  style,  it  being  evident  that  the 
language  was  inappropriate,  since  the  Constitution  was  to 
go  into  effect  between  the  first  nine  states  that  ratified  it  and 
there  was  no  telling  which  states  they  would  be,  nor  indeed 
that  every  state  would  eventually  ratify  it,  the  present  form 
was  adopted :  “We,  the  people  of  the  United  States”  that 
being  the  designation  of  the  Confederacy,  and  in  the  plural, 
not  singular,  and  it  meaning — We,  the  people  of  the  ratify¬ 
ing  states  now  united.  As  North  Carolina  and  Rhode  Island 
did  not  ratify  at  first,  the  necessity  of  the  change  in  lan¬ 
guage  is  apparent. 

The  sovereign  power  of  establishing  government  and  of 
changing  its  government  was  not  relinquished  by  any  state, 
and  on  the  other  hand  Virginia,  New  York  and  Rhode 
Island,  each,  when  ratifying  the  Constitution,  expressly  as¬ 
serted  its  right  to  exercise  that  sovereign  power. 





The  dual  government  thus  formed  when  the  people  of 
the  states,  continuing  their  own  state  government,  created 
this  new  government  of  specified  but  supreme  power,  by 
Congress,  was  a  novelty;  and  it  was  called  “The  Great 
Experiment,"  and  for  a  time  it  was  not  known  how  soon  it 
would  fall  to  pieces.  But  it  has  worked  well  when  observed, 
and  it  has  been  considered  the  masterpiece  of  human 


In  the  Union 

The  Federalists  rejoice. — Congress  extends  laws. — Stokes  ap¬ 
pointed  Judge,  succeeded  by  Sitgreaves. — Representatives  elected. 
— Abolition  petitions. — The  Senators  execute  conveyance  of  Ten¬ 
nessee. — Divergences  *in  Congress. — State  debts. — The  trade. — 
Clash  between  the  State  and  Federal  courts. — The  judiciary 
system  altered. — The  General  Assembly. — The  Assembly  rejects 
oath  to  support  Federal  Constitution. — Dissatisfaction  with  Sena¬ 
tors. — Another  post  route  desired. — Proposition  to  fix  Capital  lost. 
— Martin  again  Governor. — Spruce  McCay  Judge. — Jones  Solicitor- 
General. — The  Dismal  Swamp  Canal  chartered. — Grove  and  Macon 
elected  Representatives. — The  census  gives  the  State  ten  mem¬ 
bers. — The  population. — Powers  by  implication. — The  settlement 
of  Buncombe. — Asheville. — Washington’s  visit. — His  notes  of 
travel. — Goes  through  East,  returns  through  West. 

The  vexed  question  of  joining  the  Union  being  settled, 
the  Federalists  were  full  of  rejoicing  and  looked  with  hope 
to  the  future ;  but  still  there  were  many  of  the  inhabitants 
who  were  in  doubt,  and  some  were  discontented. 

Congress  quickly  took  up  the  matter  of  regulating  com¬ 
merce  in  North  Carolina  and  extended  the  tariff  laws,  but 
some  months  elapsed  before  it  established  the  Federal 
courts  in  the  State.  It  was  supposed  that  Iredell  would  be 
offered  the  district  judgeship  for  North  Carolina;  but 
there  being  a  vacancy  in  the  Supreme  Court,  the  President 
appointed  him  to  that  high  position.  Later,  Davie  was 
offered  the  appointment  of  district  judge  which  he  de¬ 
clined;  and  Col.  John  Stokes  was  appointed.  Judge  Stokes, 
however,  died  in  October,  and  Sitgreaves  succeeded  to  the 
office.  William  H.  Hill  of  New  Hanover  was  the  first 
district  attorney. 

All  during  the  year  there  was  excitement  in  the  State 
over  the  action  of  Congress  and  much  dissatisfaction,  and 
although  the  issue  which  had  divided  the  parties  in  the 
State  had  disappeared  on  the  acceptance  of  the  Constitu¬ 
tion,  yet  the  difference  between  the  leaders  and  among  the 
people  remained. 



The  election  of  Representatives,  which  took  place  early  in 
February,  resulted  in  favor  of  candidates  who  adhered  to  the 
Federal  party,  except  in  the  Cape  Fear  district  where 
Timothy  Bloodworth  was  chosen ;  the  other  Representatives 
were  Hugh  Williamson,  John  B.  Ashe  and  John  Steele  of 
Rowan,  and  Sevier  from  across  the  mountains. 

Tennessee  ceded 

The  Legislature  on  December  22,  1789,  had  passed  a  bill 
ceding  the  western  territory  to  the  United  States.  At  that 
period  there  was  an  active  society  for  the  abolition  of 
slavery  and  at  the  outset  petitions  had  been  offered  to  Con¬ 
gress  to  abolish  slavery  in  the  states;  North  Carolina  there¬ 
fore  inserted  in  her  cession  a  provision  that  “no  regulation 
made  or  to  be  made  by  Congress  shall  tend  to  emancipate 
slaves/'  There  was  also  a  reservation  of  the  right  to  locate 
military  grants  in  a  portion  of  the  territory  set  apart  for 
that  purpose. 

Governor  Johnston  and  Senator  Hawkins  set  out  in  Jan- 
The  Senators  uary  for  New  York.  The  'former,  arriving  on  the  28th, 
wrote :  “My  nerves  have  not  yet  recovered  the  shock  of  the 
wagon,  though  I  came  through  in  very  good  health,  and 
less  fatigued  than  I  expected  after  from  Baltimore  to  this 
place  in  less  than  four  days.  The  roads  were  very  bad 
and  we  rode  much  at  nig'ht.  Once  it  was  near  12  at  night 
before  we  arrived  at  our  inn.”  The  coaches  were  merely 
large  wagons,  the  high  sides  and  canopies  supported  bv 
upright  beams. 

On  February  25,  1790,  the  two  Senators  from  North  Car¬ 
olina  made  a  deed  of  the  western  territory  to  Congress 
reciting  the  above  provisions,  and  on  April  2,  1790,  Con¬ 
gress  accepted  the  deed  and  cession.  Then  the  State  became 
relieved  of  further  embarrassment  because  of  the  western 
territory,  which  afterwards  became  known  as  Tennessee. 



Iii  Congress 

Almost  all  the  members  of  Congress  belonged  to  the 
Federal  party ;  but  the  issue  of  ratification  having  passed 
away,  divisions  now  arose  on  measures  proposed  in  the 
Congress.  There  were  divergences  that  naturally  sprang 
up  between  New  England  and  Virginia,  between  the  North 
and  the  South.  Washington,  endowed  with  great  natural 
sagacity,  sought  to  nationalize  his  administration ;  and  among 
the  propositions  brought  forward  was  that  of  Hamilton 
to  restore  public  credit  by  securing  all  public  indebtedness ; 
not  only  was  the  Continental  debt  to  be  funded,  but  the 
State  debts  were  to  be  assumed.  Anticipating  the  adop¬ 
tion  of  this  program,  the  speculators  hastened  to  buy  at 
low  prices  all  certificates,  both  Continental  and  State. 
Early  in  March  the  proposition  passed  the  House  by  a  ma¬ 
jority  of  five;  but  there  was  a  motion  to  reconsider,  and 
the  arrival  of  the  North  Carolina  members  was  looked  for 
with  great  interest.  Senator  Johnston  was  strongly  op¬ 
posed,  and  on  April  6  he  was  able  to  write  that  Williamson, 
who  had  arrived,  agreed  perfectly  with  him,  and  had  taken 
a  conspicuous  part  in  the  debate.  Then  the  others  came, 
and  by  their  votes  the  measure  was  defeated  by  two  ma¬ 
jority.  Smarting  under  their  defeat,  the  New  England 
members  became  very  sore  and  impatient.  Their  dissat¬ 
isfaction  was  extreme.  Finally,  Jefferson  arranged  with 
Hamilton  and  Madison  that  two  Virginia  members  should 
vote  for  “assumption”  in  consideration  of  the  location  of 
the  Federal  Capital  on  the  Potomac.  That  trade  was  con¬ 
summated,  and  the  state  debts  were  assumed. 

As  reasonable  as  was  this  measure  in  theory,  it  was  un¬ 
equal  in  its  operation ;  and  most  of  the  certificates  had  been 
purchased  by  speculators,  who  reaped  rich  profit.  It  caused 
great  dissatisfaction  in  North  Carolina,  which  was  largely 
increased  by  subsequent  events. 


The  factions 

The  trade 



Judicial  con¬ 



New  judicial 

The  Assembly 

One  of  the  chief  objects  the  lawyers  had  in  view  at  the 
last  Assembly  was  to  remodel  the  court  system.  Defeated 
at  that  time,  they  hoped  for  success  at  the  approaching  ses¬ 
sion.  The  Assembly  organized  on  the  first  day  of  No¬ 
vember  at  Fayetteville,  with  Gen.  William  Lenoir  Speaker 
of  the  Senate  and  Stephen  Cabarrus  Speaker  of  the  House. 
Governor  Martin  in  his  message  urged  a  reform  in  the 
judiciary  system,  indicating  the  necessity  for  an  additional 
judge;  he  also  directed  attention  to  the  desirability  of  an¬ 
other  post  route,  the  only  one  being  confined  to  the  sea¬ 
board  towns. 

Just  prior  to  the  meeting  of  the  Assembly  there  was  the 
first  clash  between  the  State  and  the  Federal  judiciary. 
A  suit  had  been  brought  by  some  British  subjects  against 
Judge  Iredell  and  Mr.  Collins  as  executors  of  R.  Smith. 
A  certiorari  was  issued  from  the  Federal  Circuit  Court 
by  direction  of  Judges  Wilson,  Blair  and  Rutledge  to  the 
judges  of  the  State  Superior  Court  to  bring  the  suit  up  to 
the  Federal  court.  The  North  Carolina  court  declined  to 
obey  and  on  November  19  presented  an  account  of  the 
matter  to  the  Assembly  with  a  statement  of  their  reasons 
for  declining  to  obey  the  writ.  The  Assembly  approved 
their  action,  although  there  was  a  protest  against  its  de¬ 
cision.  That  ended  the  matter. 

It  was  at  the  instance  of  the  judges  rather  than  of  the  dis¬ 
satisfied  lawyers  that  the  court  law  was  amended,  and  an¬ 
other  judge  was  provided  for.  The  State  was  thereupon 
divided  into  two  circuits ;  four  districts  at  the  west  constitut¬ 
ing  one,  and  those  of  Halifax,  Edenton,  and  Wilmington  the 
other.  Two  judges  were  to  attend  each  court,  but  such 
changes  were  to  be  made  that  the  same  two  judges  should 
not  hold  the  same  court  successively.  It  was  the  duty  of 
the  Attorney-General  to  attend  each  court,  but  under  this 
new  arrangement  it  became  necessary  to  have  an  additional 



attorney  to  act  for  the  State,  and  provision  was  made  for  a 
Solicitor-General  who  should  have  equal  authority  with 
the  Attorney-General.  It  was  directed  that  these  two 
officers  should  arrange  the  legal  business  in  such  manner 
as  would  be  most  convenient  for  them. 

The  labors  of  the  judges  were  lessened  by  giving  ex¬ 
clusive  jurisdiction  to  the  county  courts  of  all  indictments 
for  assaults,  batteries  and  petty  larcenies  and  for  actions 
of  slander.  There  was  a  further  enactment  that  no  process 
or  judgment  in  any  civil  cause  should  be  arrested  or 
quashed  for  any  defect  or  want  of  form ;  and  the  courts 
were  empowered  to  amend  all  defects  at  any  time  upon  such 
conditions  as  they  might  impose. 

As  Tennessee  was  cut  off,  it  now  became  necessary  to 
provide  for  an  election  of  five  Representatives  from  the 
State  for  the  next  Congress,  and  the  counties  were  ar¬ 
ranged  into  “the  Albemarle,  the  Roanoke,  the  Center,  the 
Yadkin,  and  the  Cape  Fear  divisions.”  From  Mecklenburg 
to  the  Virginia  line  formed  the  Yadkin  division;  the  dis¬ 
trict  of  Ffillsboro  together  with  the  counties  of  Franklin  and 
Warren  formed  the  Center  division.  The  election  was  or¬ 
dered  for  the  last  Thursday  in  January. 

In  the  Assembly  there  was  much  irritation  displayed  in 
reference  to  Federal  affairs.  The  judges  were  applauded 
for  their  action  in  the  certiorari  matter. 

The  proposition  to  require  the  State  officers  and  members 
of  the  Assembly  to  take  an  oath  to  support  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States  was  rejected  by  a  vote  of  55  to  26. 
And  an  act  was  passed  disqualifying  all  persons  who  should 
hold  an  office  under  the  authority  of  the  United  States  from 
holding  any  office  of  the  State.  And  it  was  particularly  de¬ 
clared  that  Senators  and  Representatives  should  be  consid¬ 
ered  as  coming  within  the  meaning  and  purview  of  the  act, 
and  they  were  made  ineligible  to  State  appointments. 

Resolutions  were  considered  in  committee  of  the  whole 
about  the  propriety  of  giving,  instructions  to  Senators  John- 

The  districts 

S.  R.,  XXI, 




ston  and  Hawkins,  whose  conduct  was  displeasing  to  the 
Assembly.  More  resentment  seems  to  have  been  felt  to¬ 
wards  Hawkins  than  Governor  Johnston.  Neither  Senator 
attended  the  Assembly,  while  under  the  Confederation  the 
delegates  either  attended  or  wrote  giving  an  account  of  the 
action  Congress  had  taken.  Steele  and  Williamson  appear 
1655  ’  to  have  been  present  at  the  session,  and  Williamson  brought 

forward  some  project  to  defeat  the  Assumption  Act;  that, 
however,  miscarried.  The  resolutions  adopted  contained 
a  protest  against  the  assumption  of  the  debts  of  the  several 
states,  and  a  declaration  that  the  Senators  and  Representa¬ 
tives  should  request  the  advice  of  the  Assembly  to  prevent 
injuries  that  might  arise  to  the  State  of  North  Carolina. 
In  their  resolutions  they  referred  to  the  confidence  they  had 
in  the  integrity  and  industry  of  the  Senators,  but  expressed 
their  disappointment  at  their  action. 

The  Senators  were  directed  to  use  unremitting  exertions 
to  abolish  secret  sessions,  to  correspond  regularly  and  con¬ 
stantly  with  the  Legislature  and  the  Governor,  and  to  have 
the  journals  printed  and  transmitted  at  least  once  a  month. 
They  were  to  use  their  utmost  endeavors  to  effect  economy 
and  to  decrease  the  monstrous  salaries  of  public  officers, 
who  ought  not  to  be  enriched  with  the  bounty  of  regal 
ibid.,  962  splendor,  and  they  should  strenuously  oppose  every  excise 
and  direct  taxation  law.  Also  they  were  required  to  en¬ 
deavor  to  have  another  post  route  established  through  the 
State,  and  another  Federal  court  held  in  the  State. 

Governor  Martin  as  president  of  the  Board  of  Trustees  of 
the  University  presented  a  memorial  urging  a  loan  to  that 
institution  for  the  purpose  of  erecting  needed  buildings. 
Such  a  proposition  was  offered,  but  it  was  resolved  that  the 
bill  lie  over  till  the  next  Assembly.  Then  on  motion  of 
General  Person  the  bill  was  directed  to  be  printed  together 
with  the  yea  and  nay  vote  for  the  delay,  and  annexed  to  the 
laws  and  also  published  in  the  Gazette  so  that  the  people 
could  better  consider  it. 



Again  the  proposition  to  give  effect  to  the  ordinance  of  ^ 

the  Convention  fixing  the  seat  of  government  failed.  In  the 
House  it  passed  by  the  casting  vote  of  the  Speaker,  but 
in  the  Senate  it  failed  by  the  deciding  vote  of  Speaker 

The  Assembly  once  more  manifested  its  full  confidence 
in  Governor  Martin  by  reelecting  him  to  the  executive 
chair.  Judge  McCay  was  elected  the  additional  judge; 
and  Edward  Jones,  a  man  of  unusual  attainments,  Solicitor- 

The  Dismal  Swamp  Canal 

In  December,  1786,  at  a  meeting  in  Fayetteville  of  the 
commissioners  appointed  by  the  states'  of  Virginia  and 
North  Carolina  terms  were  agreed  on  for  a  compact  be¬ 
tween  the  states  making  free  to  both  states  the  waters  of 
the  Roanoke,  Chowan,  etc.,  to  the  mouth  of  the  Pasquotank, 
and  the  Chesapeake  Bay  to  the  capes,  Hampton  Roads,  etc., 
with  no  duties  on  imports  and  exports,  preliminary  to  the 
construction  of  a  proposed  Dismal  Swamp  Canal.'  This 
commission  dealt  with  some  of  the  matters  that  led  to  Vir¬ 
ginia's  proposition  for  a  revision  of  the  Articles  of  Con¬ 
federation,  and  now  after  four  years  a  company  to  construct 
the  proposed  canal  was  chartered.  Its  capital  was  to  be 
eighty  thousand  dollars,  320  shares  of  $250  each.  The 
canal  was  to  be  cut  from  Deep  Creek  in  Virginia  to  the 

r  Acts  1790, 

Pasquotank  River,  to  be  32  feet  wide,  8  feet  deep,  and  it  ch.  26, 
was  to  be  supplied  with  water  from  Drummond  Lake.  The  Revisai,  500 
compact  between  the  states  with  regard  to  it  was  made 
unalterable  and  not  subject  to  repeal  without  the  consent 
of  Virginia. 

Grove  and  Macon  in  Congress 

At  the  Congressional  election,  Bloodworth,  an  anti,  was 
defeated  bv  William  Barry  Grove,  a  nephew  of  Mr.  Hay 



The  census 


and  a  man  of  parts,  and  Nathaniel  Macon  was  elected  in 
the  Warren  District.  While  Macon  disavowed  belonging 
to  any  party,  he  had  been  associated  with  the  antis  and  in 
the  Congress  he  was  a  Southerner  and  cooperated  with 
those  who  later  classed  themselves  as  Republicans  in  op¬ 
position  to  the  clique  who  were  charged  with  hoping  for  a 
monarchy  and  strong  government. 

While  the  census  was  to  be  taken  in  1790,  apparently, 
the  enumeration  was  not  concluded  in  North  Carolina  until 
in  January,  1791.  It  was  taken  by  deputy  marshals,  but 
their  duties  were  imperfectly  performed  so  that  the  result 
was  not  entirely  reliable.  However,  it  was  found  that 
North  Carolina  had  so  many  more  inhabitants  than  mem¬ 
bers  of  the  Constitutional  Convention  had  thought  that  her 
representation  in  Congress  was  increased  from  five  to  ten; 
and  later,  ten  districts  were  laid  off.  The  population  in  the 
State  was  stated  as  being,  whites  288,204;  free  blacks, 
4,975;  slaves  100,572;  while  that  of  Tennessee  was  32,013; 
361 ;  and  3,417.  Of  all  the  states  Massachusetts  alone  re¬ 
ported  no  slaves.  In  Maryland,  Virginia,  South  Carolina 
and  Georgia,  the  whites  were  only  twice  as  numerous  as 
the  slaves;  but  in  North  Carolina  there  were  nearly  three 
whites  to  one  slave ;  and  in  the  western  half  of  the  State 
the  number  of  slaves  was  relatively  small,  there  being 
70,000  in  the  eastern  counties  and  only  30,000  at  the  west, 
where  the  whites  were  more  numerous. 

The  attitude  of  the  Assembly  towards  the  delegation  in 
Congress  was  not  without  its  effect.  There  was  no  further 
cause  of  complaint  that  members  were  silent  or  inattentive. 
Letter's  came  pouring  in  and  the  changes  were  rung  on 
the  assumption  of  state  debts,  funding  the  national  debt, 
and  the  excise  tax,  subjects  of  particular  interest  to  the 
people  of  the  State;  and  when  in  July,  1791,  it  was  pro- 
proposed  to  establish  a  national  bank,  the  fundamental 
structure  of  the  new  government  which  had  previously  been 
so  intently  considered  was  again  examined.  It  was  urged 



that  if  powers  by  implication  were  allowed,  any  power  could 
be  implied,  and  thus  almost  at  the  beginning,  public  men 
differed  on  powers  by  implication. 

The  settlement  of  Buncombe 

Settlers  had  early  pushed  far  to  the  west  across  the 
mountains  into  Tennessee  at  the  north,  but  the  Cherokees 
held  the  mountain  country  at  the  south.  It  was  not  until 
about  1781  that  settlers  around  Old  Fort  began  to  cross  the 
mountains  into  the  Swannanoa  Valley.  Among  the  first 
was  Samuel  Davidson  and  his  family,  including  one  negro 
woman  slave.  The  Indians  killed  him,  but  the  Davidsons, 
Smiths,  Alexanders  and  Edmundsons  persisted.  Ruther¬ 
ford  County  and  Burke  embraced  the  territory,  but  in  1791 
the  county  of  Buncombe  was  incorporated  by  the  Assembly, 
so  named  in  honor  of  Col.  Edward  Buncombe,  born  in  St. 
Kits,  a  resident  of  that  part  of  Tyrrell  County  now  in 
Washington  County,  a  distinguished  patriot  during  the 
Revolution,  who  was  killed  at  the  battle  of  Germantown. 
The  county  seat  was  fixed  at  Morristown,  a  site  laid  off 
by  John  Burton  on  his  land,  but  in  1795  the  residents  began 
to  call  it  Asheville,  in  honor  of  the  then  Governor — a  leading 
Anti-Federalist.  Its  climate  and  situation  and  the  pro¬ 
gressive  spirit  of  its  citizens  have  given  it  a  fame  that  makes 
it  one  of  the  best  known  localities  of  the  South. 

The  State  as  Washington  saw  it 

The  President  had  in  the  autumn  of  1790  made  a  tour  of 
the  North  and  in  the  spring  of  1791  he  visited  the  Southern 
States.  Leaving  Mount  Vernon  April  7,  he  reached  there 
on  his  return  the  13th  of  June.  While  some  few  persons 
were  aware  that  General  Washington  proposed  to  make  this 
tour  of  the  South,  the  date  and  his  movements  were  not 
generally  known.  Efe  traveled  in  his  own  carriage  and 
without  ostentation  and  expected  to  find  entertainment  at 
taverns  along  the  road.  It  was  not  his  wish  to  be  enter- 




Trade  at 




tained  or  to  be  accompanied  by  troops  of  horsemen.  While 
here  and  there,  there  were  those  who  were  at  variance  with 
the  General  because  of  his  advocacy  of  the  new  government, 
the  common  feeling  must  have  been  one  of  gladness  at  his 
presence  in  the  State. 

Halifax  was  the  first  town  he  came  to  in  North  Carolina, 
he  reaching  there  about  six  o’clock  on  the  evening  of  Sat¬ 
urday,  April  16.  “To  this  place  vessels,  by  the  aid  of  oars 
and  setting  poles,  are  brought  for  the  produce  which  comes 
to  this  place  and  others  along  the  river,  and  may  be  carried 
eight  or  ten  miles  higher  up  to  the  falls  which  are  neither 
great  nor  of  much  extent.  The  town  seems  to  be  in  a  de¬ 
cline  and  does  not,  it  is  said,  contain  a  thousand  souls. 
Colonel  Ashe,  the  Representative  of  the  district,  and  several 
other  gentlemen,  called  upon  and  invited  me  to  partake  of 
a  dinner  which  the  inhabitants  were  desirous  of  seeing  me 
at,  and,  accepting  it,  dined  with  them  accordingly.”  The 
next  night  he  spent  at  Tarboro.  “This  place  is  less  than 
Halifax,  but  more  lively  and  thriving.  Crossed  the  Tar 
on  a  bridge  of  a  great  height  from  the  water.  Corn,  pork 
and  some  tar  are  the  exports  from  it.  We  were  received  at 
this  place  by  as  good  a  salute  as  could  be  given  by  one  piece 
of  artillery.  ...  At  6  o’clock  I  left  Tarboro  accom¬ 
panied  by  some  of  the  most  respectable'  people  of  the  place 
for  a  few  miles.  Greenville  is  on  the  Tar  River,  and  the 
exports  the  same  as  from  Tarboro,  with  a  greater  propor¬ 
tion  of  tar.  This  article  is  rolled  as  tobacco  by  an  axis 
which  goes  through  both  heads — one  horse  draws  two 
barrels  in  this  manner.”  At  Greenville  a  small  party  of 
horse  under  Colonel  Simpson  joined  the  General,  and  al¬ 
though  he  sought  to  keep  them  from  accompanying  him,, 
for  he  did  not  desire  to  be  so  attended,  they  kept  with  him 
to  New  Bern.  At  the  ferry  over  the  Neuse,  ten  miles  from 
New  Bern,  “we  were  met  by  a  small  party  of  horse,  the 
district  judge,  Judge  Sitgreaves,  and  many  of  the 
principal  inhabitants,  who  conducted  us  into  town  to  ex- 

New  Bern 



ceedingly  good  lodgings.  .  .  .  Vessels  drawing  more 

than  nine  feet  can  get  up  loaded.  .  .  .  The  buildings 

are  sparse  and  all  of  them  of  wood — some  of  which  are 
large  and  look  well.  . .  .  The  number  of  souls  is  about  2,000. 
The  exports  consist  of  corn,  tobacco,  pork,  but  principally  of 
naval  stores  and  lumber.”  The  next  day  “dined  with  the 
citizens  at  a  public  dinner  given  by  them  and  went  to  a 
dancing  assembly  in  the  evening,  both  of  which  were  at 
what  they  call  the  palace;  a  good  brick  building,  but  now 
hastening  to  ruins.  .  .  .  The  company  at  both  was 

numerous,  at  the  latter  there  were  about  seventy  ladies.” 
While  at  New  Bern  he  wrote:  “Upon  the  river  Neuse  and 
80  miles  above  New  Bern,  the  Convention  of  the  State  made 
choice  of  a  spot,  or  rather  district,  within  which  to  fix  the 
seat  of  government;  but  it  being  lower  than  the  back  mem¬ 
bers  of  the  Assembly,  who  hitherto  have  been  most  numer¬ 
ous,  inclined  to  have  it,  they  have  found  means  to  obstruct 
it ;  but  since  the  cession  of  the  western  territory  it  is  sup¬ 
posed  that  the  matter  will  be  revived  to  good  effect.”  On 
Friday,  22d,  he  left  New  Bern  under  an  escort  of  horse  and 
many  of  the  principal  inhabitants,  went  through  Trenton. 
On  Saturday  he  made  44  miles  and  then,  after  proceeding 
sixteen  miles  on  Sunday  morning,  he  was  met  by  a  party  of 
light-horse  from  Wilmington  and,  later,  by  a  committee 
and  other  gentlemen  of  the  town.  When  he  arrived  at  two 
o’clock,  they  fired  a  Federal  salute,  and  escorted  him  to  very 
good  lodgings  and  then  he  dined  with  the  committee  at 
their  invitation.  The  road  from  New  Bern  to  Wilmington 
“passes  through  the  most  barren  country  I  ever  saw.”  Wil¬ 
mington  “has  some  good  houses,  pretty  compactly  built,  the 
whole  under  a  hill,  which  is  formed  entirely  of  sand.  .  .  . 

The  number  of  souls  by  the  enumeration  is  about  1,000,”  but 
he  mentioned  that  the  census  was  badly  taken.  “Wilming¬ 
ton  has  a  mud  bank  over  which  not  more  than  ten  feet  of 
water  can  be  brought  at  common  tides,  yet  vessels  of  250 
tons  are  said  to  have  come  up.  Shipping  annually  about 





1,200  tons.  Exports  chiefly  naval  stores  and  lumber,  some 
tobacco,  corn,  rice,  flax  seeds  with  pork.  Inland  navigation 
to  Fayetteville.  .  .  .  Fayetteville  is  a  thriving  place,  6,000 
hogsheads  of  tobacco,  3,000  of  flax  seed.  Monday  dined 
with  the  citizens  of  the  place  at  a  public  dinner  given  by 
them ;  went  to  a  ball  in  the  evening  at  which  there  were 
62  ladies,  illuminations,  bonfires,”  etc.  A  letter  written  by 
Mrs.  Simpson,  April  25 :  “Great  doings  this  day,  General 
Washington  arrived  yesterday.  The  light-horse  went  to 
meet  him.  The  artillery  were  ready  to  receive  him  with  a 
round  from  the  batteries,  four  guns.  This  day  he  dines 
with  the  gentlemen  of  the  town ;  in  the  evening  a  grand  ball 
and  illuminations ;  tomorrow  takes  his  leave.  Half-past 

Cape  Fear,  lour ;  just  going  to  dinner;  cannon  firing.  Cherry  and 

20S  , 

children  all  gone  to  see  the  procession.  I  must  get  the  can¬ 
dles.  Mrs.  Quince  has  given  up  her  house  to  the  General, 
and  she  stays  with  our  uncles.” 

The  President  left  the  next  morning  “accompanied  by 
most  of  the  gentlemen  of  the  town”  and  about  noon  next 
day  he  crossed  the  line  into  South  Carolina. 

On  return — Charlotte 

The  General  on  May  27  struck  the  North  Carolina  line 
south  of  Charlotte  about  five  o’clock  in  the  morning  and 
reached  Charlotte  before  three  o’clock.  “On  entering  the 
State  of  North  Carolina,  I  was  met  by  a  party  of  Mecklen¬ 
burg  horse,  but  these  being  near  their  homes  I  dismissed 
them.  .  .  .  Dined  with  General  Polk  and  a  small  party  in¬ 
vited  by  him,  at  a  table  prepared  for  the  purpose.”  Charlotte 
was  then  a  very  small  village,  “though  the  court  of  Mecklen¬ 
burg  is  held  in  it.  There  is  a  school  called  a  college  in  it  at 
which  at  times  there  has  been  50  or  60  boys.  .  .  .  Feft 

Charlotte  Sunday  morning,”  and  the  next  day  he  was  met 
by  a  party  of  horse  of  Rowan  County  that  had  come  from 
Salisbury  to  escort  him — and  when  five  miles  from  Salis¬ 
bury  was  met  by  the  Mayor  and  the  Corporation,  Judge 


McCay  and  many  others.  “The  lands  between  Charlotte 
and  Salisbury  are  very  fine  and  the  first  meadows  I  have 
seen  since  I  left  Virginia ;  and  here  also  we  appear  to  be 
getting  into  a  wheat  country.  .  .  .  Dined  at  a  public 

dinner  given  by  the  citizens  of  Salisbury  and  in  the  after¬ 
noon  drank  tea  at  the  same  place  with  about  twenty  ladies. 

“Salisbury  is  but  a  small  place,  although  it  is  the  county 
town,  and  the  district  court  is  held  in  it.  There  are  about 
300  souls  in  it  and  tradesmen  of  different  kinds.  .  .  . 

May  31 — Left  Salisbury  and  about  four  o’clock  arrived  at 
Salem,  one  of  the  Moravian  towns,  about  miles  from 

.  .  Salem 

Salisbury.  .  .  .  Salem  is  a  small  but  neat  village,  and 

like  all  the  rest  of  the  Moravian  settlements  is  governed  by 
an  excellent  police,  having  within  itself  all  kinds  of  artisans. 

The  number  of  souls  does  not  exceed  200.”  June  1  he 
passed  at  Salem.  “Spent  the  forenoon  in  visiting  the  shops 
of  the  different  tradesmen,  the  houses  of  accommodation  for 
the  single  men  and  sisters  of  the  Fraternity,  and  their  place 
of  worship.  Invited  six  of  the  principal  people  to  dine  with 
me,  and  in  the  evening  went  to  hear  them  sing,  perform  on 
a  variety  of  instruments — church  music.”  There  he  was 
joined  by  Governor  Alexander  Martin.  The  next  day,  ac¬ 
companied  by  Governor  Martin,  he  dined  at  Guilford  where 
there  was  a  considerable  gathering  of  people.  “On  my  way, 

•  I  examined  the  ground  on  which  the  action  between  Gen¬ 
eral  Greene  and  Lord  Cornwallis  commenced,  and  after 
dinner  rode  over  that  where  the  lines  were  formed  and  the 
score  closed  in  the  retreat  of  the  American  forces.  The 
first  line  of  which  was  advantageously  drawn  up,  and  had 
the  troops  done  their  duty  properly  the  British 'must  have 
been  <?orely  galled  in  ye  advance,  if  not  defeated.  The  lands 
between  Salem  and  Guilford  are  in  places  very  fine.  On 
my  approach  to  this  place  I  was  met  by  a  party  of  light- 
horse  which  I  prevailed  on  the  Governor  to  dismiss,  and 
to  countermand  his  orders  for  others  to  attend  me  through  ^|J.lcsentl 
the  State.  ...  In  conversing  with  the  Governor  on  the 




state  of  politics  in  North  Carolina,  I  learned  with  pleasure 
that  the  opposition  to  the  general  government  and  the  dis¬ 
content  of  the  people  were  subsiding  fast,  and  that  he 
should,  as  soon  as  he  received  the  laws  which  he  had  written 
to  the  Secretary  of  State  for,  issue  his  proclamation  re¬ 
quiring  all  officers  and  members  of  the  government  to  take 
leave  of  the  Governor,  whose  intention  was  to  attend  me 
the  oath  prescribed  by  law.  .  .  .  Friday  3.  Took  my 
to  the  line,  but  for  my  request  that  he  would  not.  Having 
this  day  passed  the  line  of  North  Carolina  and,  of  course, 
finished  my  tour  through  the  three  southernmost  states,  a 
general  description  of  them  may  be  comprised  in  the  follow¬ 
ing  few  words:  From  the  seaboard  to  the  falls  of  all  the 
rivers  which  water  the  lands,  except  the  swamps  on  the 
rivers  and  the  lesser  streams  which  empty  into  them,  and 
the  internal  land  higher  up  the  rivers,  is  with  but  few  ex¬ 
ceptions,  neither  more  nor  less  than  a  continued  pine  bar¬ 
ren,  very  thinly  inhabited.  The  next  part,  the  seaboard  for 
many  miles  is  dead  level  and  badly  watered.  That  above 
it  is  hilly  and  not  much  better  than  barren.” 


He  mentioned  as  being  cultivated  in  South  Carolina,  rice, 
corn,  sweet  potatoes  and  in  the  up-country — tobacco,  corn, 
hemp  and  some  smaller  grain,  and  the  same  in  North  Caro-  * 
lina,  “except  instead  of  rice,  corn,  some  indigo,  with 
naval  stores  and  pork,  but  as  indigo  is  on  the  decline,  hemp 
and  cotton  are  grown  in  its  place.  The  prices  of  land  in 
the  lower  part  of  the  State  are  very  great,  those  improved 
from  20  to"  30  pounds  sterling  and  from  10  to  15  pounds  in 
its  rude  state.  The  lands  of  the  upper  counties  sell'  from 
four  to  six  or  seven  dollars.  In  the  upper  parts  of  North 
Carolina  wheat  is  pretty  much  grown,  and  the  farmers  seem 
disposed  to  try  hemp ;  but  the  land  carriage  is  a  considerable 
drawback  having  between  200  and  300  miles  to  carry  the 
produce  either  to  Charleston,  Petersburg  or  Wilmington. 



Excepting  the  towns  and  some  gentlemen's  seats  on  the 
whole  road  I  traveled  from  Petersburg  to  this  place,  there 
is  not  a  single  house  which  has  anything  of  elegant  appear¬ 
ance.  They  are  altogether  of  wood  and  chiefly  of  logs, 
some  indeed  have  brick  chimneys,  but  generally  the  chim¬ 
neys  are  split  sticks,  filled  with  dirt  between  them.  .  . 

The  people,  however,  appear  to  have  abundant  means  to 
live  well,  the  grounds  where  they  are  settled  yielding  grain 
in  abundance.  The  manners  of  the  people,  as  far  as  my 
observation  and  means  of  information  extended,  were  or¬ 
derly  and  civil,  and  they  appeared  to  be  happy,  contented 
and  satisfied  with  the  general  government,  under  which 
they  were  placed.  Where  the  case  was  different,  it  was 
not  difficult  to  trace  the  cause  to  some  demagogue  or 
speculating  character.” 



The  New  Capital 


The  Assembly  November,  1791. — The  Assembly  takes  the  oath 
to  support  Federal  Constitution. — Commission  appointed  to  lo¬ 
cate  the  capital. — Ten  thousand  dollars  lent  to  University. — Po¬ 
litical  fears. — Washington  assents  to  reelection. — Commissioners 
meet  to  locate  capital. — Lane  conveys  1,000  acres  near  Wake 
Courthouse. — The  City  of  Raleigh. — Trustees  locate  the  Univer¬ 
sity. — Committee  to  erect  buildings  for  fifty  students. — The  new 
districts  change  all  Representatives  but  Grove  and  Macon. — 
Spaight  Governor. — Martin  replaces  Johnston  in  Senate. — Mat¬ 
ters  of  concern. — Indians,  England,  France. — Genet. — The  French 
privateers. — At  Wilmington. — Eli  Whitney  invents  the  cotton 
gin. — Cotton  and  tobacco. — Haywood  Judge. — Spencer’s  death. — 
New  Assembly. — The  palace  sold. — Hatteras  lighthouse. — Fort 
at  Smithville — Importance  of  Ocracoke. — The  University. — 
A  principal  to  be  chosen. — Rev.  David  Kerr  taken. — Hinton 
James  the  first  pupil. — The  State  press. — Divergences. — Chis¬ 
holm  v.  Georgia. — The  opinions  of  the  judges. — Iredell’s  princi¬ 
ples. — The  Constitutional  Amendment. — States’  rights  in  issue. — 
The  Republicans  elect  all  Representatives  but  Grove. — In  De¬ 
cember,  1794,  the  Assembly  meets  in  the  new  State  House. — No 
town  at  Raleigh;  few  houses. — Bloodworth  Speaker  of  House 
and  U.  S.  Senator. — Importation  of  slaves  prohibited  except  serv¬ 
ants  accompanying  their  owner. — Other  legislation  as  to  negroes. 
— County  fairs  provided  for. — Organization  of  the  Protestant 
Episcopal  Church. — Rev.  Charles  Pettigrew  chosen  Bishop  but 
never  consecrated. — Jay’s  Treaty. — Republicans  strengthened. 

The  oath  of  allegiance 

When  the  session  of  the  Legislature  opened  at  New 
Bern  on  December  5,  1791,  the  members  made  no  change 
either  in  the  Governor  or  the  speakers.  But  now  having 
received  copies  of  the  Acts  of  Congress,  there  was  early- 
passed  “an  act  for  altering  the  oath  of  allegiance  to  the 
State,"  by  which  “every  person  elected  to  any  public  office 
shall  talce  an  oath  that  he  will  be  faithful  and  bear  true 
allegiance  to  the  State  of  North  Carolina  and  to  the  con¬ 
stitutional  powers  and  authorities  which  are  or  may  be  es¬ 
tablished  for  the  government  thereof,  and  that  he  will  en¬ 
deavor  to  support,  maintain  and  defend  the  Constitution  of 



said  State,  not  inconsistent  with  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States,  and  that  members  of  the  Assembly  shall 
take  said  oath,  and  also  an  oath  to  support  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States.”  And  the  members  afterwards  took 
that  oath. 

To  locate  the  capital 

Under  the  treaty  with  Great  Britain,  provision  had  been 
made  to  secure  the  rights  of  British  subjects  in  confiscated 
property;  and  the  Assembly  as  a  remedy  against  hardship 
agreed  to  reimburse  those  who  had  purchased  confiscated 
lands  and  could  not  hold  them.  And  now  that  the  territory 
beyond  the  mountains  had  no  voice,  and  Fayetteville’s  in¬ 
fluence  was  not  so  strong,  the  Assembly  appointed  ten  com¬ 
missioners,  one  for  each  congressional  district,  to  carry 
into  effect  the  ordinance  to  locate  the  Capital  and  lay  off 
a  plan  for  a  city  in  Wake  County.  Similarly,  the  Assembly 
took  a  forward  step  in  regard  to  the  University.  The 
board  needed  more  funds  before  beginning  earnest  work, 
the  provision  theretofore  made  being  inadequate.  Again 
Davie  was  successful.  His  eloquent  appeal  to  the  Assembly 
was  long  remembered.  Ten  thousand  dollars  was  lent  from 
the  Treasury,  by  a  vote  of  57  to  53  in  the  House,  and  28  to 
21  in  the  Senate.  Of  those  who  voted  for  it  in  the  House, 
Bloodworth  should  be  mentioned,  and  in  the  Senate,  Lane 
of  Wake  and  General  Person. 

The  presidential  election 

In  the  year  1792  there  was  to  be  a  presidential  election. 
The  divergences  among  the  public  men  were  so  sharp  that 
Jefferson  wrote  to  General  Washington  urging  him  to  allow 
himself  to  be  reelected.  He  emphasized  that  “a  squadron” 
having  the  deciding  voice  in  Congress  had  the  design  to 
get  rid  of  the  limitations  of  the  Constitution  with  the  ulti¬ 
mate  object  of  changing  the  republican  form  of  government 

Acts  1791, 
ch.  11, 
Revisal,  II, 

Davie  pro¬ 
motes  the 




Works,  IV, 

The  Capital 



to  that  of  a  monarchy  modeled  after  the  British  Constitu¬ 
tion.  For  himself  he  declared :  “I  can  scarcely  contemplate 
a  more  incalculable  evil  than  the  breaking  of  the  Union 
into  two  or  more  parts.”  He  pointed  out  that  that  might 
happen  and  he  therefore  urged  Washington  to  accept  a  re- 
election  as  he  could  prevent  the  people  from  being  led  “into 
secession.”  Such  apprehensions  were  rife  for  “the  Great  Ex¬ 
periment”  was  still  in  the  experimental  stage,  and  the  people 
had  fears  of  the  future.  Fortunately  Washington  assented, 
and  at  the  election  the  Republicans  gained  a  strong  ascend¬ 
ancy  in  Congress,  so  that  thoughts  of  a  monarchy,  if  enter¬ 
tained,  were  abandoned.  It  was  in  the  midst  of  these  political 
movements  that  the  commissioners  met  about  the  last  of 
March  to  locate  the  capital.  Only  six  attended.  They  se¬ 
lected  an  eligible  location  near  Wake  Courthouse  and  a 
deed  was  executed  by  Joel  Lane,  conveying  to  Governor 
Martin  1,000  acres,  near  the  center  of  which  was  a  hill  that 
was  chosen  as  the  site  for  the  Capitol  building.  A  plan  of 
the  city  was  at  once  laid  off,  with  five  large  public  squares 
reserved,  the  central  one,  called  Union  Square,  was  for  the 
Capitol;  and  the  others  were  named  Caswell,  Moore,  Nash 
and  Burke,  and  acre  lots  were  sold  off  at  public  auction. 
When,  later,  the  report  of  the  proceedings  was  made  to  the 
Assembly  it  was  confirmed,  and  by  the  act  of  the  Assembly 
the  town  was  named  “The  City  of  Raleigh.” 

In  like  manner,  the  Trustees  of  the  L^niversity  met  at 
Hillsboro,  25  out  of  the  40,  on  the  1st  of  August,  and 
agreed  that  the  location  should  be  within  a  circle  of  fifteen 
miles  from  Cyprett’s  bridge,  on  the  main  road  from  New 
Bern  to  Pittsboro,  and  pursuant  thereto  a  committee  met 
at  Pittsboro  on  November  1,  and  on  November  6  selected  a 
hill  known  as  New  Hope  Chapel  Hill,  where  a  chapel  had 
been  erected  in  former  times,  at  the  crossing  of  the  great 
roads  north  and  south,  east  and  west.  The  owners  of 
much  land  near  by  offered  a  considerable  quantity  of  land 
if  that  site  should  be  selected.  The  commissioners  made 



their  report  to  a  committee  consisting  of  Davie,  McCorkle, 
Jones,  Ashe  and  Sitgreaves  and  their  action  was  approved 
and  ratified ;  and  a  building  committee  was  appointed  to  lay 
out  a  town,  sell  lots  and  erect  buildings  to  accommodate 
fifty  students. 

At  the  election  for  Representatives  in  Congress,  it  was 
found  that  in  making  the  districts  the  counties  had  been  so 
arranged  that  disaster  befell  Williamson  and  Ashe  and 
Steele.  Of  the  former  representatives  only  Grove  and 
Macon  were  retained.  In  the  presidential  election,  North 
Carolina,  like  Virginia,  gave  her  electoral  votes  to  Washing¬ 
ton  and  to  Clinton  of  New  York,  the  latter  being  a  states’ 
rights  advocate. 

The  Assembly 

In  November,  1792,  the  Assembly  met  at  .New  Bern. 
The  same  speakers  were  reelected  and  the  full  constitu¬ 
tional  period  that  Governor  Martin  could  serve  being  com¬ 
pleted,  Richard  Dobbs  Spaight  was  chosen  Governor,  his 
term  beginning  December  14,  1792;  and  Martin  was  elected 
Senator  in  Congress  in  the  place  of  Sam  Johnston.  This 
was  a  severe  blow  to  the  Federalists  for  Johnston  was  at 
the  head  of  that  party  in  the  State  and  had  long  been  the 
commanding  figure  in  political  action,  while  in  the  Senate 
he  had  taken  rank  with  the  foremost  of  the  Senators. 
Martin  was  not  equal  to  him  in  solidity  of  character  and 
attainments,  but  he  was  of  such  superior  excellence  that  his 
appointment  was  likewise  highly  creditable  to  the  State, 
and  altogether  he  had  served  six  years  as  Governor  of  the 

And  now  Spruce  McCay  was  added  to  the  Superior  Court. 

The  new  Governor,  Spaight,  had  been  educated  at  the 
University  of  Glasgow  and  was  entitled  to  high  considera¬ 
tion  because  of  his  talents  and  accomplishments.  He  was 
the  first  native  of  the  State  to  be  chosen  Governor.  The 
early  months  of  his  term  brought  new  matters  to  public  at- 

The  election 









The  cotton 

tention.  An  Indian  war  threatened,  and  preparations 
were  made  at  the  west  for  rendering  aid  to  Georgia.  More¬ 
over,  foreign  matters  brought  concern.  Naturally,  popular 
feeling  was  with  France,  now  a  republic,  in  her  struggle 
against  monarchical  Europe,  while  the  British  government 
had  aroused  patriotic  hostility.  In  April  Citizen  Genet  ar¬ 
rived  at  Charleston  and  was  warmly  received.  Instead 
of  passing  on  to  the  seat  of  government  at  Philadelphia 
and  presenting  his  credentials  to  President  Washington, 
he  began  to  fit  out  privateers.  Washington  proclaimed 
neutrality;  but  Genet  ignored  Washington  and  relied  on 
popular  support.  Genet  purchased  vessels  and  armed  them 
and  sent  them  out  to  prey  on  British  commerce.  At  Wil¬ 
mington,  the  Hector  was  purchased  to  be  delivered  June  i 
on  the  high  seas.  She  sailed  from  Charleston  a  few  days 
later  with  her  armament  in  her  hold  and,  entering  George¬ 
town,  was  fully  equipped  as  a  privateer,  her  name  being 

changed  to  the  Vanquer  de  Bastile.  Sallying  out,  she  fell 
in  with  an  English  merchant  vessel  which  she  captured 
and  brought  into  Wilmington  as  a  prize.  At  once  Gov¬ 
ernor  Spaight  ordered  Colonel  Campbell  of  the  New  Han¬ 
over  militia  and  Colonel  Smith  of  the  Brunswick  militia, 
to  call  out  their  militia  and  seize  both  the  Hector  and  the 
prize  and  hold  them,  and  orders  enforcing  vigilance  were 
given  to  the  colonels  of  the  seaboard  counties.  Similarly, 
other  French  privateers  were  fitted  out  at  Charleston,  and 
even  at  Philadelphia.  The  people  were  now  divided  in 
their  sympathies.  Eventually  Genet  was  recalled,  but  while 
a  successor  was  substituted,  he  himself  preferred  to  re¬ 
main  in  America,  where  he  resided  the  rest  of  his  life. 

It  was  during  this  period  of  trouble  that  a  very  important 
invention  was  made  by  Eli  Whitney,  a  native  of  Massa¬ 
chusetts,  who  had  for  some  years  been  employed  near  Savan¬ 
nah.  The  drift  away  from  slavery  had  perhaps  been  strength¬ 
ened  by  the  French  Revolution  and  its  motto  of  fraternity 
and  equality,  emphasizing  the  brotherhood  of  man.  The 



Southern  States  were  now  prohibiting  the  introduction  of 
negroes  from  abroad.  But  when  this  invention  of  Whit¬ 
ney’s,  the  cotton  gin,  by  which  the  seed  of  cotton  were 
readily  separated  from  the  lint,  was  perfected,  the  possi¬ 
bilities  of  cotton  culture  became  realized.  In  179°  no  C°L 
ton  was  exported  from  the  United  States.  Up  to  then 
patches  of  cotton  were  grown  chiefly  for  local  use.  But 
on  the  introduction  of  the  cotton  gin,  exportations  began; 
at  first,  in  1794,  only  a  million  and  a  half  pounds;  the  next 
year,  five  millions ;  and  slave  labor  at  the  far  South  became 
remunerative.  The  world  needed  cotton  for  clothing,  and 
the  South  supplied  it.  Tobacco  had  already  played  a  great 
role  in  American  commerce,  and  now  cotton  was  to  be¬ 
come  its  twin  southern  sister. 

State  affairs 

On  the  24th  of  June,  1793,  John  Haywood  was  com¬ 
missioned  a  judge  of  the  Superior  Court,  perhaps  because  of 
the  inability  of  Judge  Spencer  to  attend  the  courts ;  and 
the  next  year,  on  Spencer’s  death,  Haywood  permanently 
replaced  him.  Judge  Haywood  was  considered  one  of  the 
greatest  criminal  lawyers  of  his  generation. 

The  Assembly  met  at  Fayetteville  in  November.  Its  tone 
was  unchanged ;  Spaight  was  reelected  Governor.  Lenoir 
and  Leigh  were  the  speakers.  Among  the  acts  passed  was 
one  allowing  slaves  in  certain  cases  to  have  a  jury  trial, 
and  another  to  sell  the  palace  at  New  Bern.  That  last 
vestige  of  Royal  rule  was  thus  disposed  of.  A  second  ses¬ 
sion  of  the  same  Assembly  was  held  in  July,  1794,  at  New 
Bern,  at  which  the  title  to  four  acres  of  land  was  vested 
in  the  United  States  at  Hatteras  for  the  purpose  of  con¬ 
structing  a  lighthouse  there ;  and  land  was  ceded  at  Smith- 
ville  for  a  fort,  and  subsequently  the  United  States  took 
possession.  However,  the  State  had  previously  had  a  light¬ 
house  at  Ocracoke ;  and  it  was  claimed  that  two-thirds  of  the 
commerce  of  the  State  passed  through  Ocracoke.  This  was 




The  palace 






Battle:  Hist. 
Univ.,  65 

the  last  of  the  perambulatory  legislatures.  The  Capitol  build¬ 
ing  at  Raleigh  had  now  been  sufficiently  completed  for  oc¬ 
cupancy,  and  the  next  meeting  was  to  be  held  in  it. 

Progress  had  been  made  at  the  University,  the  bricks 
being  burnt  on  the  land  and  the  lime  made  from  oyster 
shells  brought  from  the  Cape  Fear  by  way  of  Fayetteville 
and  burnt  on  the  premises.  The  Trustees  met  on  the  ioth 
of  January,  1794,  to  select  a  principal,  and  from  half  a 
dozen  distinguished  ministers,  among  them  Rev.  John 
Brown,  afterwards  President  of  the  University  of  Georgia ; 
Rev.  James  Tate,  a  famous  educator  of  the  Cape  Fear; 
Rev.  George  Micklejohn  of  Regulator  fame;  Dr.  Mc- 
Corkle,  a  distinguished  teacher  of  Rowan  County,  and  Rev. 
David  Kerr,  the  Presbyterian  pastor  and  school-teacher  at 
Fayetteville,  they  chose  the  last  named.  The  opening  day 
was  to  be  January  15,  but  it  was  not  until  February  12 
that  the  first  pupil,  Hinton  James,  arrived,  coming  from 
Wilmington ;  and  then  a  fortnight  elapsed  before  three 
others  arrived,  also  from  Wilmington,  the  sons  of  Alfred 
Moore,  later  justice  of  the  Supreme  Court,  and  their 
cousin,  Richard  Eagles.  Others  soon  followed ;  and  at  the 
end  of  the  term  the  number  had  increased  to  41. 

The  press 

From  1785  there  had  been  steady  increase  in  the  number 
of  presses  and  newspapers  in  the  State.  Indeed,  Abram 
Hodge  alone  had  presses  at  New  Bern,  Edenton,  Halifax 
and  Fayetteville,  and  was  instrumental  in  establishing  three 
newspapers.  He  was  in  five  different  firms,  and  at  his 
death  had  served  the  State  for  fifteen  years  as  “Printer  to 
the  State. ”  The  printers  generally  had  book  stores,  and 
they  were  instruments  in  distributing  publications  made  by 
their  patrons ;  and  as  it  was  in  their  line  of  business  to  pro¬ 
mote  publications,  they  fostered  the  practice  of  reaching 
the  public  through  such  means.  Indeed  Davis,  Martin  and 
Hodge  contributed  much  to  broaden  and  strengthen  the 


intellectual  advancement  of  North  Carolina.  Before  the 
close  of  the  century  presses  had  been  set  up,  besides  those 
above  mentioned,  at  Wilmington,  Hillsboro,  Salisbury,  Lin- 
colnton  and  the  “City  of  Raleigh.” 

States’  rights 

At  the  election  that  year  the  divergence  between  the  Re¬ 
publicans  under  the  leadership  of  Jefferson  and  the  Feder¬ 
alists  under  that  of  Hamilton  became  more  pronounced  than 
ever  and  a  decision  rendered  by  the  Supreme  Court  brought 
the  academic  question  of  states’  rights  into  the  realm  of 
reality  and  aroused  the  people  who  feared  for  their  former 
liberties.  In  1792,  Chisholm,  a  citizen  of  South  Carolina,  as 
executor,  having  some  unascertained  claim  against  the 
State  of  Georgia,  brought  suit  against  that  State  in  the 
Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States.  The  Court  took  ju¬ 
risdiction  and,  Georgia  not  appearing,  gave  judgment  by 
default.  In  the  proceeding  the  several  justices  of  the  Su¬ 
preme  Court  filed  opinions  in  which  the  differing  views  ex¬ 
pressed  as  to  the  nature  of  the  government  under  the  Con¬ 
stitution  illustrate  the  divergence  of  thought  at  that  early 
period.  Chief  Justice  Jay  said:  “The  people  of  the  several 
colonies  being  subjects  of  Great  Britain  were  fellow  sub¬ 
jects  and  in  a  variety  of  respects  one  people.  .  .  .  From 

the  Crown  of  Great  Britain  the  sovereignty  of  their  country 
passed  to  the  people  of  it.  Afterwards  in  the  hurry  of 
the  war  they  made  a  confederation  of  states  and  then  the 
people  in  their  collective  and  national  capacity  estab¬ 
lished  the  present  Constitution.  They  declared  with  be¬ 
coming  dignity — ‘We,  the  people  of  the  United  States  do 
ordain  and  establish  this  Constitution.’  Here  we  see  the  peo¬ 
ple  acting  as  sovereigns  of  the  whole  country,  and  in  the 
language  of  sovereignty  establishing  a  constitution,  by 
which  it  was  their  will  that  the  state  governments  should 
be  bound,  and  to  which  the  state  constitutions  should  be 
made  to  conform.  Every  state  constitution  is  a  compact 


Weeks:  The 
Pi'ess  of 
N.  C„  39, 
43,  49 

Chisholm  vs. 







made  by  and  between  the  citizens  of  a  state  to  govern  them¬ 
selves  in  a  certain  manner;  and  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States  is  likewise  a  compact  made  by  the  people  of 
the  United  States  to  govern  themselves  as  to  general  ob¬ 
jects  in  a  certain  manner.  By  this  great  compact,  however, 
many  state  prerogatives  were  transferred  to  the  national 

Judge  Wilson  said:  “The  people  of  the  United  States 
were  the  citizens  of  her  thirteen  states,  connected  together 
by  articles  of  confederation.  The  articles  of  confedera¬ 
tion,  as  it  is  well  known,  did  not  operate  upon  individual 
citizens,  but  operated  only  upon  states.  Before  that 
time  the  Union  possessed  legislative,  but  unenforced  legis¬ 
lative  power  over  the  states.  Whoever  considers,  as  a 
combined  and  comprehensive  view,  the  general  texture  of 
the  Constitution,  will  be  satisfied  that  the  people  of  the 
United  States  intended  to  form  themselves  into  a  nation, 
for  national  purposes.  They  instituted,  for  such  purposes, 
a  national  government,  complete  in  all  its  parts,  with  powers 
legislative,  executive  and  judicial;  and  in  all  these  parts 
extending  over  the  whole  nation.”  Judge  Wilson’s  argu¬ 
ment  was  much  stronger  than  that  of  the  Chief  Justice. 

The  opinion  of  Iredell,  a  leading  and  staunch  Federalist, 
was  different.  As  a  legal  argument  on  the  point  in  the 
case  it  was  much  superior  to  that  of  the  Chief  Justice;  and 
in  what  reference  he  made  to  historical  events  he  was 
much  more  accurate  than  any  of  the  other  justices.  “A 
state  does  not  owe  its  origin  to  the  government  of  the  United 
States.  It  was  in  existence  before  it.  ...  A  state,  though 
subject  in  certain  specified  particulars,  to  the  authority  of 
the  government  of  the  United  States,  is,  in  every  other  re¬ 
spect,  totally  independent  of  it.  Every  state  in  the 

Union,  in  every  instance  where  its  sovereignty  has  not  been 
delegated  to  the  United  States,  I  consider  to  be  as  completely 
sovereign  as  the  United  States  is  in  respect  to  the  powers 
surrendered.  .  .  .  The  United  States  are  sovereign  as  to  all 



the  powers  of  government  actually  surrendered;  each  state 
in  the  Union  is  sovereign  as  to  all  the  powers  reserved.” 
He  said  that  the  court  had  no  jurisdiction;  that  Congress 
had  not  attempted  to  confer  such  jurisdiction  on  the  court, 
nor  did  the  Constitution  provide  that  states  might  be  sued 
by  individuals.  And  in  this  he  was  but  reiterating  what 
he  and  others  had  earlier  declared.  He  had  earlier  said  as 
to  any  coercive  power  over  states  as  states:  “No  man  of 
common  sense  can  any  longer  contend  for  that" ;  and  to  the 
same  effect  had  John  Marshall,  afterwards  the  famous  Chief 
Justice,  expressed  himself  in  the  Virginia  Convention:  “I 
hope  no  gentleman  will  think  that  a  state  will  be  called  at 
the  bar  of  the  Federal  Court.  It  is  not  rational  to  suppose 
that  the  sovereign  power  will  be  dragged  before  a  court.” 
And  Maclaine,  a  most  violent  advocate  of  ratification,  had 
spoken  in  the  North  Carolina  Convention  to  the  same  effect. 
But  Iredell  was  overruled,  and  judgment  by  default  was 
entered  against  the  State  of  Georgia.  Immediately  on 
March  5,  1794,  a  representative  from  Massachusetts  pro¬ 
posed  in  Congress  a  constitutional  amendment:  “That  the 
judicial  power  of  the  United  States  shall  not  be  construed 
to  extend  to  any  suit  commenced  against  a  state  by  citizens 
of  another  state.”  And  Congress  speedily  passed  the  pro¬ 
posed  amendment,  and  it  came  at  once  to  the  states  for  rati¬ 
fication  and  was  ratified.  The  command  was  so  positive  that 
it  was  as  if  the  states  had  raised  a  clenched  fist  at  the  court, 
commanding:  “Don’t  you  do  that  again!”  In  North  Caro¬ 
lina,  Davie  agreed  with  Iredell,  and  the  Republicans,  now 
backed  by  these,  took  strong  ground,  and  Iredell’s  dissenting 
opinion  became  the  very  foundation  stone  of  the  states’  rights 
doctrine.  The  states  had  every  attribute  of  sovereignty  not 
specifically  delegated  to  the  common  government  which  the 
states  had  established  between  themselves,  and  among  the 
powers  delegated  there  was  no  mention  of  the  coercion  of 
a  state.  The  Republicans  were  successful  at  the  election ; 



The  Consti¬ 







indeed  so  successful  that  only  one  Federal,  Grove  of 
Fayetteville,  was  elected  a  representative  in  Congress. 

The  first  Assembly  at  Raleigh 

At  last,  on  December  30,  1794,  the  State  House  at  Raleigh 
being  then  sufficiently  complete,  the  Assembly  met  in  the 
permanent  capital  of  the  State.  The  State  House,  de¬ 
scribed  as  an  ugly  pile  of  brick  and  wood,  without  porch 
or  ornament,  was  built  by  Rhodes  Atkins.  The  plan  was 
similar  to  that  of  the  later  edifice.  But  while  there  were 
in  the  building  rooms  for  the  State  officers,  there  were  no 
residences  for  the  Governor  and  other  State  officers  to 
occupy.  As  yet  there  was  no  town,  but  a  tavern  or  two 
had  been  erected,  and  necessarily  the  members  had  to  come 
from  their  homes  either  on  horseback  or  in  private  con¬ 
veyances  ;  theretofore,  the  Assembly  had  convened  in  towns 
with  some  accommodations,  and  this  must  have  been  a  very 
uncomfortable  experience.  At  this  first  memorable  occu¬ 
pancy  of  the  Capitol,  1794,  Governor  Spaight  was  re¬ 
elected,  and  Lenoir  as  Speaker  of  the  Senate;  but  Timothy 
Bloodworth,  the  positive  Republican,  was  chosen  by  the 
House.  The  Legislature  ratified  the  proposed  amendment 
to  the  Constitution,  which  later  became  the  Eleventh 
Amendment.  Then  when  the  election  was  held  for  United 
States  Senator,  to  succeed  Hawkins,  Bloodworth  was  chosen 
by  a  single  vote  over  Alfred  Moore.  They  were  both 
from  the  Cape  Fear  country;  Moore  distinguished  in  every 
walk  in  life,  and  Bloodworth,  although  known  as  the  black¬ 
smith  politician,  had  the  elements  of  a  fine  manhood  in 
him  and  drew  the  Republicans  around  him. 

Importation  of  slaves  restricted 

And  at  this  Assembly  a  noteworthy  step  was  taken  in 
regard  to  slavery.  In  1774  the  people  of  Rowan  had  re¬ 
solved  against  the  African  slave  trade,  and  the  first  Pro¬ 
vincial  Congress,  held  that  year,  had  agreed  that  “we  will 

The  First  Capitol.  Completed  1794;  destroyed  by  fire  June  21,  1831 
Insert — Canova’s  statue  of  Washington 




not  import  any  slave  or  purchase  any  slave  brought  into 
this  province  by  others  after  the  first  day  of  November 
next.”  But  that  resolution  seems  to  have  fallen  into  in¬ 
nocuous  desuetude,  for  in  1786  duties  were  levied  on  im¬ 
ported  slaves  brought  in  from  Africa;  and  those  brought  in 
from  the  Northern  States  where  emancipation  was  in  prog¬ 
ress  were  to  be  returned.  Four  years  later  the  duties  on 
the  importation  of  slaves  were  repealed ;  but  slaves  brought 
in  from  the  Northern  States  were  still  to  be  returned.  Now, 
at  this  first  session  at  Raleigh,  a  very  stringent  act  was 
passed  prohibiting  any  one  from  bringing  into  this  State 
any  slave  or  indentured  servant  of  color;  unless  the  person 
should  take  an  oath  that  he  was  coming  into  the  State  to 
settle  and  be  a  citizen,  and  that  he  was  not  bringing  the 
servant  of  color  into  the  State' for  sale.  And  at  this  same 
session,  owners  were  prohibited  from  allowing  slaves  to 
have  their  own  time,  and  meetings  of  negroes  were  pro¬ 
hibited  and  greater  supervision  of  them  was  required  by  pa¬ 
trolmen  ;  and  there  was  another  act  passed  requiring  the  jury 
and  court  on  the  trial  of  a  slave  to  render  verdict  and  sen¬ 
tence  agreeably  to  the  laws  of  the  country.  There  was 
evidently,  however,  apprehension  in  regard  to  the  negroes, 
for  at  the  next  session,  it  was  forbidden  for  any  owner 
coming  to  settle  to  bring  with  him  from  the  southern  islands 
any  negroes  over  the  age  of  fifteen ;  and  if  any  free  person 
of  color  should  come  into  the  State,  he  was  required  to 
give  bond  for  his  good  behavior. 

The  improvement  of  local  conditions  was  also  in  the 
minds  of  the  Assemblymen,  and  an  act  was  passed  author¬ 
izing  the  county  courts  to  establish  fairs  in  their  counties 
‘‘so  as  to  afford  an  opportunity  and  give  encouragement  to 
industry  by  collecting  the  inhabitants  for  the  purpose  of 
exchanging,  bartering  and  selling  all  such  articles  as  they 
wish  to  dispose  of.” 


Local  fairs 






In  1794  the  Protestant  Episcopal  Church  was  organized 
in  the  State.  On  the  5th  of  June,  1789,  two  clergymen, 
Rev.  Charles  Pettigrew  and  Rev.  Janies  L.  Wilson,  and 
two  laymen  met  at  Tarboro,  and  acceded  to  the  Constitution 
of  the  Protestant  Episcopal  Church  as  adopted  at  Philadel¬ 
phia  in  that  year.  It  was  proposed  to  hold  a  second  con¬ 
vention  that  November,  but  the  effort  failed,  and  in  No¬ 
vember,  1790,  the  next  convention  was  held,  there  being 
four  clergymen  and  four  laymen  present.  There  was  no 
other  convention  held  until  November,  1793,  when  there 
were  only  three  clergymen  and  three  laymen  in  attendance. 
In  May,  1794,  there  were  eight  members  in  the  State  in¬ 
cluding  Mr.  Miller,  who  had  taken  orders  as  a  Lutheran 
minister,  but  only  four  of  them  and  only  four  of  the  laity 
attended  the  convention  which  met  at  Tarboro.  Rev. 
Charles  Pettigrew  was  chosen  Bishop ;  but  he  never  went 
to  be  ordained.  In  none  of  these  conventions  did  the 
southern  half  of  the  State  have  any  representative.  Craven, 
Martin,  Edgecombe,  Pitt,  Granville,  Hertford  and  North¬ 
ampton  and  “near  the  Yadkin,”  were  the  residences  of 
the  ministers. 

Jay’s  treaty 

There  were  many  matters  in  controversy  between  the 
United  States  and  Great  Britain  and  Great  Britain  had  been 
slow  to  give  them  consideration,  but  at  length,  in  1794,  con¬ 
ditions  seemed  to  be  propitious,  and  Washington  appointed 
Chief  Justice  Jay  as  Envoy  Extraordinary  for  the  purpose 
of  concluding  a  treaty.  Although  perhaps  not  entirely  sat¬ 
isfactory  to  Washington,  he  approved  the  treaty  and  it 
was  ratified.  In  August,  1795,  Sam  Johnston  wrote:  “The 
stipulations  restraining  the  vessels  of  the  United  States 
from  carrying  any  molasses,  sugar,  coffee,  or  cotton  either 
from  the  islands  belonging  to  Great  Britain  or  from  the 



United  States  to  any  part  of  the  world  were  highly  excep¬ 
tionable;  and  that  the  British  ought  to  have  made  provision 

for  paying  for  the  slaves  they  had  taken  from  our  citizens.” 


The  treaty  was  fiercely  denounced  by  others,  and  Jay  fell 
into  public  odium.  The  effect  at  the  South  was  to  strengthen 
the  Republicans,  and  they  again  controlled  the  Assembly  of 
this  State. 



Friction  With  France 

Ashe  Governor. — Stone  Judge. — Canals  to  be  cut. — Changes  in 
the  law. — All  children  to  inherit.— Matters  of  fact  for  the  jury. — 
Alterations  in  court  procedure. — Manumission  limited. — The 
Quakers  and  slavery. — Joshua  Evans. — Life  at  Raleigh. — The 
emctions. — Public  attitude  towards  France  and  Great  Britain. — 
Adams  President. — The  land  frauds. — Plot  to  burn  State  House. 
— France  hostile. — Collisions. — Washington  at  head  of  army. — 
Patriotism  prevails. — The  pestilence. — War  imminent. — Davie 
Governor. — Franklin  Senator. — The  Kentucky  resolutions. — 
Taylor  Judge. — The  Court  of  Patents. — Moore  Judge. — Davie’s 
vigor. — Preparations. — Willis  and  Locke. — Jefferson’s  “Scission.” 
— Davie  goes  to  France. — Leaves  messages  for  the  Assembly. — 
Joseph  Gales  establishes  the  Register. — Democracy  prevails. — 
Williams  Governor. — Black  gowns  and  court  formalities  aban¬ 
doned. — The  Court  of  Conference. — Death  of  Washington. — 
Washington,  Ashe  and  Greene  counties. 

Ashe  Governor 

When  the  Assembly  convened  it  at  once  chose  for  Gov¬ 
ernor  Ashe  of  New  Hanover,  who  some  twelve  days  later 
appeared  and  took  the  oath  of  office.  Fike  Spaight,  he  was 
a  native  of  the  State.  He  had  been  on  the  bench  some 
eighteen  years,  but  while  thus  removed  from  political  ac¬ 
tion,  he  was  well  known  to  have  ever  been  a  stalwart  Anti- 
Federalist.  David  Stone  of  Bertie  succeeded  him  on  the 
bench.  Stone  was  but  twenty-five  years  of  age  and  had 
been  at  the  bar  only  five  years.  A  graduate  of  Princeton, 
and  a  man  of  fine  intelligence  and  attainments,  he  had 
studied  law  under  Davie  and  was  much  in  sympathy  with 
the  high  ideals  of  that  elegant  gentleman.  But  his  political 
association  was  with  the  Anti-Federals. 

Governor  Ashe  quickly  sent  a  message  to  the  Assembly  in 
which  he  referred  to  the  action  of  that  body  requiring  State 
officers  to  reside  in  Raleigh  six  months  during  the  year, 
saying  that  he  proposed  to  do  that ;  but  suggested  that  a 
Governor  whose  term  was  only  one  year  could  not  build  a 
house  to  live  in  only  for  six  months.  Thereupon  the  Legis- 



lature  directed  that  a  house  should  be  provided  for  the  Gov¬ 
ernor  by  the  Treasurer,  either  by  leasing  or  by  building. 

As  the  previous  Legislature  had  sought  to  provide  do¬ 
mestic  industries  by  establishing  county  fairs,  so  this  one 
hoped  to  advance  the  general  welfare  by  stimulating  the 
cutting  of  canals.  It  was  proposed  that  persons  should 
drain  their  low  lands  by  ditches  or  canals  passing  through 
the  lands  of  others,  and  that  “whereas  it  has  been  demon¬ 
strated  by  the  experience  of  the  most  improved  and  well 
cultivated  countries  the  opening  of  communications  by 
cutting  canals  has  been  productive  of  great  wealth  and 
commerce/’  the  Legislature  authorized  the  formation  of 
companies  to  cut  canals  for  transportation  and  to  drain 

The  Assembly,  despite  the  political  conditions,  addressed 
itself  to  some  amendment  of  the  law.  In  1784  entails  had 
been  abolished,  but  preference  had  been  given  to  the  males 
in  exclusion  of  the  females :  now  all  distinctions  among 
children  were  removed  and  sisters  were  put  on  a  level  with 
their  brothers.  And  further  curing  some  of  the  defects  of 
administration,  the  judges  were  forbidden,  in  charging  the 
jury,  to  express  any  opinion  as  to  whether  a  fact  was  fully 
or  sufficiently  proved,  “such  matter  being  the  true  office 
and  province  of  the  jury,”  and  two  peremptory  challenges 
were  allowed  to  each  side  in  every  case.  Indeed,  during 
Governor  Ashe’s  term,  court  procedure  was  much  over¬ 
hauled  ;  and  there  were  enactments,  regulating  the  method 
of  procedure  by  grand  juries;  of  issuing  process;  author¬ 
izing  executors  and  administrators  in  certain  cases  to 
convey  land,  and  otherwise  ordaining  beneficial  alterations 
in  court  matters. 

There  was  another  change  in  the  law  brought  about  by 
apprehensions  lest  the  free  negroes  might  induce  the  blacks 
to  give  trouble.  Slaves  were  no  longer  to  be  emancipated, 
except  for  meritorious  services,  so  adjudged  and  allowed 
bv  the  countv  courts. 




All  children 
to  inherit 

Court  pro¬ 



The  Quakers*  attitude  toward  slavery 

Indeed,  African  slavery  now  began  to  give  concern.  The 
institution  was  fixed ;  property  in  slaves  had  for  generations 
been  an  inherited  right,  and  in  addition  to  the  private  rights, 
there  were  involved  public  considerations  of  great  interest, 
for  free  negroes  were  a  menace.  About  the  time  of  the 
Revolution  the  Quakers  in  North  Carolina,  as  well  as  some 
of  the  Methodists,  had  begun  to  consider  the  subject  of 
slavery.  Mr.  Asbury  was  much  in  favor  of  having  the 
slaves  emancipated,  and  some  of  the  Quakers  were  of  the 
same  mind.  In  1772  the  Quakers  had  addressed  the  As¬ 
sembly  against  the  importation  of  slaves,  and  ten  years 
later  they  had  made  progress  ‘‘in  clearing  the  Society  of 


Southern  slavery,”  and  in  securing  the  rights  of  the  manumitted. 

Quakers  . 

In  1795,  the  Legislature  having  passed  an  act  requiring 
all  free  negroes  to  give  bond  for  good  behavior,  the  next 
“Yearly  Meeting”  drew  a  petition  urging  the  Assembly  to 
allow  owners  to  emancipate  their  slaves  and  asking  that 
those  emancipated  should  be  protected  as  freemen,  for  it 

1790  was  asserted  that  some  negroes  manumitted  had  been  seized 

and  sold  into  slavery.  Joshua  Evans,  a  traveling  Quaker 
preacher,  then  on  his  way  to  Georgia,  happened  to  be  in 
Raleigh  when  this  petition  was  presented  to  the  Assembly. 
At  that  time  the  little  hamlet  was  barely  three  years  old. 

At  Raleigh  A  tavern  had  been  erected  in  the  forest  and  a  few  resi¬ 
dences,  where  some  of  the  members  found  board.  At  the 
tavern  there  were  about  “forty  men  of  note.”  Notwith¬ 
standing  Evans  was  urging  abolition  of  slavery,  the  mem¬ 
bers  received  him  kindly.  “A  number  of  them  invited  me 
freely  to  come  into  their  rooms  and  sit  with  them,  and  that 
they  should  be  pleased  if  I  would  do  so;  all  this  furnishing 
me  with  opportunities  to  touch  on  their  cruel  laws  and  the 
hardships  to  which  the  poor  blacks  were  subjected  in  that 
government.  Many  of  them  kindly  invited  me  to  come  and 
see  them  if  I  should  come  near  their  dwellings.”  And 



when  he  came  to  settle,  the  tavern  keeper  would  take  no 
pay  for  his  board.  These  details  indicate  no  resentment  at 
his  views.  But  there  were  serious  objections  to  acting  fa¬ 
vorably  on  the  petition.  The  agitation  by  the  Quakers  in 
Albemarle  had  already  led  to  disastrous  results.  Negroes 
had  been  led  to.  expect  liberation.  The  idea  of  emancipa-  Evi1  results 
tion  was  openly  held  out  to  them.  Their  minds  were  alien¬ 
ated  from  service.  Runaways  were  protected,  harbored  and 
encouraged.  “Arsons  are  committed.”  The  grand  jury 
at  Edenton,  therefore,  made  a  presentment  of  the  Quakers 
in  Eastern  North  Carolina  “as  the  authors  of  the  common 
mischief  in  their  quarter,”  and  based  on  the  allegations 
above  quoted.  So  at  the  following  session,  the  Assembly 
passed  an  even  more  stringent  law  against  emancipation. 

But,  ignoring  the  law,  the  Quakers  persisted  in  urging  in- 

Weeks : 


dividuals  to  set  their  slaves  free,  merely  by  a  release  of  221,  222 
ownership,  and  the  Legislature  found  it  necessary  to  re¬ 
quire  that  some  provision  should  be  made  for  old  slaves 
that  were  not  cared  for.  Society  hqd  to  be  protected. 

The  election 

Washington’s  term  was  now  expiring  and  John  Adams, 
the  Vice-President,  desired  to  succeed  him.  Jefferson,  who 
had  retired  from  the  Cabinet  in  1793,  was  at  the  head  of  the 
opposition.  Massachusetts  and  Virginia  were  once  more 
the  contestants,  and  sectional  bitterness  was  fed  by  personal 
and  political  antagonisms.  Four  years  earlier,  the  division 
of  the  people  was  in  some  measure  based  on  apprehensions 
regarding  the  form  and  powers  of  the  government.  Now 
a  different  color  was  given  to  public  matters.  France  and 
Great  Britain  had  their  respective  friends,  and  each  of 
these  powers  was  seeking  to  exert  an  influence  in  the 
United  States.  There  was  much  sympathy  for  France ;  and 
Jefferson  was  regarded  as  the  especial  friend  of  the  French 
Republic ;  while  the  Paris  horrors  easily  led  the  Federalists 
to  stigmatize  the  opponents  of  Adams  as  Jacobins.  Davie, 







Plot  to  burn 

writing  to  Iredell  in  November,  said:  “Uncommon  pains 
have  been  taken  by  the  Jacobin  party  to  insure  the  election 
of  Jefferson”;  but  at  the  north  these  efforts  were  without 
avail.  Judge  Patterson  of  the  Supreme  Court  wrote  De¬ 
cember  i :  “The  contest  will  be  severe.  From  New  Jersey 
to  New  Hampshire,  the  votes,  being  58,  will  be  for  Mr. 
Adams.”  And  so  it  happened,  except  Pennsylvania  the 
North  was  solid  for  Adams.  Maryland  likewise  gave 
Adams  7  votes.  Pennsylvania  went  with  the  South  for 
Jefferson.  In  North  Carolina  one  district  was  carried  by 
Adams,  and  Adams  was  elected  by  a  single  vote  above  the 
requisite  majority.  The  Congressional  delegation  remained 
Republican  with  the  exception  of  Grove.  The  Assembly 
was  Anti-Federal  and  chose  the  same  Speaker  as  its  pred¬ 

The  land  frauds 

In  1797  Governor  Ashe  discovered  improprieties  in  is¬ 
suing  grants  and  he  Galled  the  matter  to  the  attention  of 
the  Council  of  State ;  but  it  was  not  at  first  supposed  that 
there  were  any  frauds,  for  the  officers  were  of  the  highest 
reputation.  However,  the  Legislature,  when  it  met  in  No¬ 
vember,  appointed  a  Board  of  Inquiry.  There  was  a  land 
office  at  Nashville,  Tennessee,  under  Major  John  Arm¬ 
strong.  In  the  Raleigh  office,  William  Tyrrell,  the  clerk, 
would  issue  grants  calling  for  certain  corners  and  covering 
a  specified  acreage,  while  the  lines  when  run  would  em¬ 
brace  from  ten  to  a  hundred  times  as  many  acres  as  men¬ 
tioned ;  and  there  were  other  fraudulent  methods  devised. 
When  these  discoveries  were  made,  Tyrrell  fled.  For  safe 
keeping  the  books  containing  those  entries  were  moved  into 
the  Comptroller’s  office.  In  the  succeeding  April,  1798, 
Judge  Tatum  and  John  McNairey  at  Nashville  dispatched 
a  messenger  to  Governor  Ashe  conveying  information  of  a 
plot  to  carry  off  these  books,  and  to  burn  the  State  House. 
It  seems  that  the  plot  was  hatched  by  Glasgow,  the  Secre- 



tary  of  State.  The  Governor  in  calling  the  Council  to¬ 
gether  wrote :  “An  angel  has  fallen,”  so  astonished  was  he 
that  Glasgow  should  be  involved.  James  Glasgow  of  Dobbs 
County  had  been  an  early  patriot,  and  had  been  Secretary  of 
State  for  twenty  years;  and  for  years  been  Deputy  Grand 
Master  of  the  Masonic  order,  which  embraced  in  its  mem¬ 
bership  nearly  every  man  of  standing  in  the  State.  When 
the  Council  met,  in  his  written  statement  the  Governor  said : 
“The  scheme  was  concerted  in  the  house  of  a  person  who 
seems  to  be  in  the  character  of  a  fallen  angel.”  The  effort 
to  carry  off  the  papers  was  frustrated,  and  that  to  burn  the 
State  House  failed  through  the  measures  taken  by  the 

France  hostile 

While  these  startling  incidents  were  claiming  attention, 
some  notable  changes  occurred.  Judge  Stone  retired  from 
the  bench  and  sought  political  honors.  He  announced  him¬ 
self  for  Congress  in  the  Albemarle  district  and,  although 
of  Anti-Federal  association,  was  warmly  supported  by  the 
leading  Federalists.  Indeed,  in  the  progress  of  unexpected 
events,  the  old  party  lines  were  much  broken  down.  The 
President  could  not  close  his  eyes  to  the  audacity  of  the 
French  government,  then  in  the  throes  of  revolution  and 
under  the  Directory,  nor  could  he  brook  their  insults.  He 
took  measures  looking  to  war.  Indeed,  actual  hostilities 
had  begun  on  the  ocean  and  collisions  had  occurred.  Con¬ 
gress  at  once  strengthened  the  naval  force,  provided  for  the 
appointment  of  a  Secretary  of  Navy,  and  authorized  our 
merchantmen  to  arm.  Presently  we  had  captured  many 
French  ships  and  France  was  despoiling  our  commerce. 
Congress  likewise  provided  for  a  provisional  army  of  regu¬ 
lars,  and  Washington  was  called  from  his  retirement  to 
the  command.  In  July,  1798,  Davie  was  appointed  by  the 
President  Brigadier  General  in  this  new  army,  to  command 
the  North  Carolina  contingent.  No  longer  could  there  be 




Secretary  of 
the  Navy 

in  command 






Alien  and 
sedition  law 



Iredell,  II, 


The  yellow 

any  divisions  among  patriots.  And  Congress  in  the  furore 
of  the  occasion  passed  bills  known  as  the  Alien  and  Sedi¬ 
tion  Laws,  authorizing  the  President  to  deport  aliens,  and 
to  imprison  any  one  who  defamed  the  government,  Congress 
or  the  President.  In  the  meanwhile,  Talleyrand,  the  French 
Premier,  had  proceeded  so  far  as  to  have  the  American 
commissioners  in  France  informed  that  before  they  would 
be  heard  they  must  pay  1,200,000  francs;  and  when  the 
commissioners  had  returned,  the  sentiment  “Millions  for 
defense,  not  one  cent  for  tribute,”  thoroughly  permeated  the 
hearts  of  the  people.  Such  was  the  inflamed  condition 
and  temper  of  the  times  during  the  summer  and  fall  of 

In  the  State 

At  the  Congressional  election  the  Federals  carried  four 
districts ;  and  while  there  was  no  particular  change  in  the 
personnel  of  the  Assembly,  the  majority  was  in  line  with 
the  administration.  Indeed  when  in  November,  Sam  John¬ 
ston,  now  again  in  the  Senate,  came  to  Raleigh,  he  wrote 
home :  “Davie  is  talked  of  for  Governor,  and  will  meet 
with  no  opposition.  I  was  much  surprised  to  find  even 
Governor  Ashe  so  perfectly  anti-Gallican ;  but  it  is  the 
fashion,  and  no  one  pretends  to  be  otherwise.” 

The  change  was  quickly  heralded  abroad.  The  good 
news  flew.  Charles  Lee  in  Virginia  wrote :  “The  change 
in  North  Carolina  is  most  pleasing,”  and  William  Rawle, 
the  great  Philadelphia  lawyer,  wrote  to  Iredell:  “Your  ac¬ 
count  of  the  election  is  a  consolation  in  the  midst  of  our 
misfortunes.”  Philadelphia  was  indeed  in  the  midst  of 
misfortune.  The  yellow  fever  had  stricken  the  city  heavier 
than  ever  before.  It  was  more  malignant  than  in  1793. 
The  only  safety  was  in  flight.  Charles  Lee  wrote :  “The 
pestilence  now  rages  with  increased  fatality.  In  New  York 
City  it  is  terrible  also.  I  think  Congress  ought  not  to  hold 
its  session  in  Philadelphia  next  winter.”  Nor  was  the  pesti- 



lence  confined  to  those  cities.  It  invaded  every  seaport  and 
North  Carolina  did  not  escape.  It  struck  Wilmington  and 
other  seaboard  towns  disastrously. 

In  the  Assembly 

When  the  Assembly  met,  the  Senate  was  strongly  under 
Federal  influence ;  the  House  was  not  so.  There  was,  how¬ 
ever,  no  change  made  in  the  speakers  of  the  houses.  Gov¬ 
ernor  Ashe’s  term  was  now  expiring,  and  war  was  flagrant ; 
so  Davie,  the  preeminent  soldier  of  the  day,  and  eminent 
for  his  talents  and  character,  was  called  to  the  helm.  But 
already  there  was  clamor  against  the  Alien  and  Sedition 
Acts,  which  Jefferson  with  great  astuteness  intensified,  pro¬ 
curing  the  Legislature  of  Kentucky  to  adopt  resolutions  that 
challenged  the  attention  of  the  country.  Martin  had  voted 
for  those  acts  in  Congress,  and  had  become  “wonderfully 
Federal,”  so  the  Republican  leaders  rallied  all  their  strength 
and  defeated  him.  He  was  replaced  by  Jesse  Franklin  of 
Surry,  not  so  scholarly  as  Martin,  not  so  eloquent  as  many 
others,  but  of  solid  worth,  typifying  the  best  North  Caro¬ 
lina  characteristics — integrity  and  honesty  of  purpose, 
united  with  intelligence,  broad  views  and  patriotism.  He 
was  a  staunch  Republican.  The  Kentucky  resolutions  were 
communicated  to  the  House  by  Governor  Davie.  The 
House  received  them  and  sent  them  to  the  Senate.  The 
Senate  heard  them  read  “with  great  impatience,”  and  “or¬ 
dered  them  to  lie  on  the  table.”  “I  believe,”  wrote  Gov¬ 
ernor  Johnston,  “in  the  temper  they  were  in  they  might 
easily  have  been  prevailed  on  to  have  thrown  them  into  the 
fire,  which  was  proposed  in  whispers  by  several  near  us.” 
Then  the  House,  by  a  respectable  majority,  adopted  an 
address  to  the  President  which  the  Senate  passed  unani¬ 
mously,  not  so  high  in  praise  “of  his  great  abilities  and  in¬ 
tegrity”  as  Johnston  wished.  This  was,  however,  followed 
by  a  resolve  by  the  House  urging  the  delegation  in  Con- 


Martin  de¬ 





Iredell,  II, 



Iredell,  II, 

Journal,  75, 



Davie  and 

gress  to  seek  to  repeal  the  Alien  and  Sedition  Acts,  which 
was  rejected  by  the  Senate  31  to  8;  but  notwithstanding 
the  Senate  would  not  concur,  the  House  adopted  the  re¬ 
solves  and  ordered  them  forwarded  to  the  Senators  and 
Representatives  in  Congress.  The  Republicans  while  rea1 
sonably  complacent  would  not  utterly  abdicate  their 

Judge  Williams’s  health  had  now  become  such  that  he 
could  not  attend  his  courts  and,  as  he  did  not  resign,  the 
Assembly  provided  for  an  additional  judge,  John  Louis 
Taylor  being  elected  to  the  bench.  Thus  was  introduced 
into  our  judiciary  one  of  its  chief est  ornaments.  Taylor 
was  born  in  London,  of  Irish  parentage,  and  while  a  lad 
of  ten  years  his  brother  brought  him  to  New  Bern.  After 
graduating  at  William  and  Mary  College,  he  had  studied 
law  and  settled  at  Fayetteville.  He  soon  married  a  sister 
of  William  Gaston,  and  between  these  two  distinguished 
men  there  existed  the  most  affectionate  intercourse. 

Court  of  Patents 

Because  of  the  discovery  of  the  land  frauds,  a  commis¬ 
sion  was  appointed  to  investigate  all  the  facts,  and  a  Court 
of  Patents  was  established  with  power  to  annul  fraudulent 
grants.  To  succeed  Glasgow,  William  White,  a  nephew  of 
Governor  Caswell,  was  elected  Secretary  of  State,  and  a 
bond  of  ten  thousand  pounds  was  required  for  that  office. 
Governor  Sam  Johnston  had  in  view  to  create  a  court  of  ap¬ 
peals,  but  he  was  then  ahead  of  the  times,  and  he  failed  in 
his  purpose.  To  succeed  Judge  Stone,  elected  to  Congress, 
Alfred  Moore  was  chosen  to  the  bench. 

It  was  a  notable  circumstance  that  Davie  and  Moore  were 
now  simultaneously  made  recipients  of  public  favor.  They 
were  highly  distinguished  among  the  illustrious  characters 
of  that  period.  Indeed  one  of  their  contemporaries  re¬ 
corded  that  “they  shone  as  brilliant  meteors  in  the  firma- 


15  7 

liient.”  Chief  Justice  Taylor  ascribed  to  Moore  “a  pro¬ 
found  knowledge  of  the  law,  and  when  Attorney-General,  he 
had  performed  his  onerous  duties  with  vigilance  and  zeal ; 
but  his  energy  was  seasoned  with  humanity,  leaving  the  in¬ 
nocent  nothing  to  fear,  and  the  guilty  but  little  to  hope.” 
However,  on  the  bench,  Moore  did  not  give  entire  satisfac¬ 
tion.  He  was  captious  and  disregarded  precedents.  Per¬ 
haps  he  saw  deeper  than  some  of  his  predecessors  or 
thought  that  he  was  better  fitted  to  make  precedents  than 
they  were.  But  he  was  not  to  remain  long  as  a  state  judge 
for  on  the  death  of  Judge  Iredell  he  was  transferred  to  the 
U.  S.  Supreme  Court. 

War  preparation 

Davie,  entering  on  the  office  of  Governor  December  7, 
1798,  addressed  himself  to  his  duties  with  vigor  and  intel¬ 
ligence.  His  first  attention  was  given  to  military  prepara¬ 
tion.  The  organization  of  the  militia  was  perfected  and  he 
had  the  sea  coast  fortifications  examined  with  a  view  to  de¬ 
fense.  General  Brown  of  the  Cape  Fear  district  reported 
that  in  1794,  Mr.  Martignor  had  been  sent  by  the  Federal 
Government  to  construct  a  fort  at  Smithville,  and  he  had 
demolished  the  old  fort  Johnston  and  had  replaced  it  by 
a  heavy  sand  battery.  General  Brown  had  Major  McRee 
now  to  submit  a  new  plan  of  defense.  Likewise  reports 
were  made  about  Ocracoke.  Davie  represented  to  the  Fed¬ 
eral  Government  that  the  South  had  no  arms  nor  ammu¬ 
nition  and  he  was  active  in  preparation.  But  not  neglect¬ 
ful  of  civil  affairs,  he  was  earnest  in  his  purpose  to  have 
Glasgow  tried  and  he  was  interested  in  the  progress  of  the 
work  of  establishing  the  boundary  between  the  State  and 
Tennessee.  While  assiduously  engaged  in  these  duties,  the 
President  appointed  him  one  of  a  new  commission  he  pro¬ 
posed  to  send  to  France,  and  Davie  accepted  the  appoint¬ 
ment  ;  but  nevertheless  he  continued  to  press  forward  the 
business  of  his  office. 


Davie,  Com¬ 
missioner  to 


Iredell,  II, 

ence,  IV, 



The  Legislature,  anxious  to  remedy  the  wrongs  done 
by  the  frauds  of  its  officers  in  Tennessee,  directed  Governor 
Davie  to  obtain  the  papers  of  the  office  of  Martin  Arm¬ 
strong,  then  in  the  possession  of  Tennessee,  and  under  that 
authority  Governor  Davie  on  the  first  of  March,  1799, 
commissioned  Gen.  John  Willis  of  Robeson  County  and 
Francis  Locke  of  Salisbury  to  go  to  Tennessee  and  if  pos¬ 
sible  obtain  the  papers  for  the  use  of  the  State.  Willis  and 
Locke  were  well  qualified  for  the  mission.  The  former  was 
a  gentleman  of  the  highest  respectability  and  character  and  a 
lawyer  of  fine  attainments.  The  latter  was  of  equal  stand¬ 
ing  in  the  State.  It,  however,  does  not  appear  that  their 
mission  availed. 

It  was  not  until  August  that  the  commission  made  its  re¬ 
port  on  the  Glasgow  frauds  and  the  Court  of  Patents  did 
not  meet  at  all.  While  these  afifairs  were  claiming  Davie’s 
attention,  he  was  concerned  at  learning  that  in  Virginia 
there  was  such  dissatisfaction  that  some  of  the  leaders 
there  were  talking  of  “seceding  from  the  Union,”  while 
others  boldly  asserted  the  policy  and  practicability  of  “sev¬ 
ering  the  Union,”  alleging  that  Pennsylvania  would  join 
them,  that  Maryland  would  be  compelled  to ;  that  the  sub¬ 
mission  and  assistance  of  North  Carolina  was  counted  on 
as  a  matter  of  course.  Indeed,  the  subject  was  put  up  to 
Jefferson,  who  called  it  “Scission,”  but  while  he  expressly 
affirmed  the  right  to  secede,  he  did  not  deem  it  expedient. 

Davie  goes  abroad 

In  the  meantime,  the  President  deemed  that  conditions 
had  so  far  improved  that  it  was  proper  and  expedient  for 
the  commission  he  had  appointed  to  depart  to  France.  It 
was  necessary  for  Davie  to  leave  the  State.  The  Assembly 
had  directed  that  the  Governor  should  keep  his  office  open 
at  Raleigh  the  entire  year;  and  if  he  himself  were  going 
to  be  absent  that  he  should  so.  advertise  in  a  newspaper,  but 
his  office  should  be  kept  open  by  his  private  secretary. 



Davie  seems  to  have  arranged  his  official  matters  in  con¬ 
formity  with  these  directions.  It  does  not  appear  that  he 
resigned;  nor  did  General  Smith,  the  Speaker  of  the  Sen 
ate,  become  Governor  in  his  absence.  On  the  contrary  he 
prepared  seven  separate  messages  or  communications  for 
the  Assembly,  on  various  subjects,  which  he  delivered  to  his 
private  secretary  to  be  presented  when  it  should  convene. 
All  of  these  messages  but  one  were  dated  September  10; 
the  other,  dated  November  10,  advised  the  Legislature  of 
his  leaving  the  State  on  the  duties  assigned  him  by  the 
President.  On  September  22  he  left  Halifax,  and  on  No¬ 
vember  3  sailed  from  Newport,  Rhode  Island.  There  was 
no  official  notice  taken  of  his  absence  from  his  office.  His 
communications  were  received  and  treated  as  if  he  were 

Joseph  Gales 

During  the  year,  Raleigh  received  as  a  citizen  its  first 
editor  and  saw  established  its  first  printing  press.  Joseph 
Gales  had  been  an  editor,  publisher  and  book  seller  at 
Sheffield,  England,  along  with  Montgomery,  afterwards 
known  as  the  poet.  In  England,  as  one  of  the  effects  of 
the  French  Revolution,  democratic  societies  had  sprung  up 
in  many  of  the  counties,  and  Gales  was  in  sympathy  with 
them.  For  some  cause,  an  order  was  issued  for  the  ar¬ 
rest  of  Gales,  and  being  advised  of  it,  at  his  wife’s  entreaty 
he  fled  to  Holland,  where  his  wife  joined  him,  and  a  year 
later  they  came  to  Philadelphia,  reaching  there  in  1795. 
Buying  a  newspaper  in  Philadelphia,  and  being  able  to  re¬ 
port  the  proceedings  in  Congress  in  shorthand,  he  soon 
took  high  rank  as  a  newspaper  man.  His  sympathies  were 
with  the  Anti-Federals  or  the  Republicans,  as  Jefferson 
called  those  who  cooperated  with  him.  Because  of  the 
yellow  fever  that  had  appeared  in  consecutive  years  at  Phil¬ 
adelphia,  Gales  determined  to  seek  another  location  and 
some  of  the  North  Carolina  delegation  prevailed  on  him 






Nov.,  1799 

Black  gowns 

One  judge 
to  hold  court 

Acts  1799, 
ch.  4 

to  locate  at  Raleigh.  Here  in  1799  he  began  the  publica¬ 
tion  of  the  Register  which  his  fine  abilities  soon  made  the 
leading  paper  in  the  State,  greatly  strengthening  his  party 
and  giving  it  a  more  democratic  tone.  But  Hodge,  whose 
office  was  at  Fayetteville,  issued  a  paper  dated  Raleigh, 
shortly  before  the  appearance  of  the  Register. 

Democracy  prevails 

When  the  Assembly  met  the  war  feeling  aroused  by 
France  had  subsided  and  the  discontent  over  the  Alien  and 
Sedition  Acts  had  become  intensified  by  the  arrest  of  editors 
and  others  disagreeable  to  the  President.  The  tide  was 
running  against  Federalism.  The  same  speakers  were 
chosen  and  Benjamin  Williams,  defeated  by  Davie  the  year 
before,  was  elected  Governor.  Mr.  Willianis  was  a  large 
and  successful  planter  of  Moore  County  and  closely  con¬ 
nected  with  some  of  the  leading  families  of  the  eastern 
counties.  He  was  a  man  of  fine  intelligence  and  stood 
among  the  first  of  the  progressive  agriculturists  of  the 
State.  The  Legislature,  now  to  conform  to  a  democratic 
sentiment,  abolished  the  practice  of  having  sheriffs  to  pre¬ 
cede  the  judges  to  and  from  the  courthouse  with  wands, 
and  having  the  doorkeeper  to  precede  the  speakers  with 
maces,  and  the  practice  these  officials  had  to  array  them¬ 
selves  in  black  gowns  was  likewise  abandoned.  These  an¬ 
cient  forms  were  repugnant  to  the  new  democratic 

To  remedy  some  obvious  inconveniences,  there  being  four 
judges,  the  State  was  now  divided  into  four  ridings  and  one 
judge  was  allowed  to  hold  a  Superior  Court  in  each  riding; 
but  there  was  to  be  rotation.  And  another  interesting 
change  was  made  in  the  judicial  department  that  was  some¬ 
what  in  line  with  Governor  Johnston’s  proposition  to  estab¬ 
lish  a  court  of  appeals.  The  judges  were  to  meet  at 
Raleioh  in  Tune  and  December  and  determine  any  questions 
of  law  not  determined  in  the  circuit.  They  were  to  discuss 



these  points  of  law  among  themselves,  but  the  practice  did 
not  obtain  of  having  attorneys  to  argue  before  them.  By 
the  same  act,  the  judges  were  to  hold  a  court  to  try  those 
persons  indicted  for  land  frauds.  However,  the  operation 
of  this  act  was  limited  to  two  years. 

Death  of  Washington 

On  December  14,  at  Mount  Vernon,  the  great  Washing¬ 
ton  went  to  his  reward.  There  was  a  universal  manifesta¬ 
tion  of  sorrow.  The  Legislature  being  in  session  immedi¬ 
ately  named  a  county  in  his  remembrance ;  but  in  the  same 
bill  a  new  county  was  erected  and  named  for  one  of  the 
principal  Republican  leaders,  Governor  Sam  Ashe.  At  the 
same  time  the  name  of  Glasgow  was  expunged  from  the  list 
of  counties,  and  Greene  was  substituted  in  honor  of  General 
Greene.  At  this  session,  further  to  show  affection  for 
Washington,  Governor  Williams  was  directed  to  take  steps 
to  procure  two  full  length  portraits  of  him  who  “was  first 
in  war,  first  in  peace  and  first  in  the  hearts  of  his  country¬ 
men.”  Governor  Williams  ascertained  through  Represent¬ 
ative  Grove  that  Gilbert  Stuart  would  paint  a  portrait  of 
Washington  for  $600  and  the  frame  would  cost  $200. 
Such  a  portrait  was  procured  and  still  adorns  the  Hall  of 
Representatives,  but  it  was  painted  by  Sully. 

The  judges 
to  confer 



The  New  Century 

Social  conditions. — Caldwell  at  the  University. — Smith’s  dona¬ 
tion. — The  academies  and  schools. — Medical  Society. — Agricul¬ 
tural. — The  State  buys  the  cotton  gin  right. — Transportation. — 
River  improvements. — Horse  racing. — Halifax  cotton  factory. — 
Willis’s  mail  to  Tennessee. — Wolves. — Women’s  work. — The 
religious  situation. — Infidelity. — Asbury’s  journeys. — The  revival. 
— The  great  meetings. — Elder  Burkett. — The  jerks. — State  affairs. 
— Death  of  Iredell. — Moore  succeeds  him. — Johnston. — Glas¬ 
gow’s  trial. — Haywood. — The  newspapers. — Hall  replaces  Judge 
Williams. — Stone  Senator. — The  electoral  college. — Jefferson 




Conditions  in  1800 

The  new  century  opened  with  the  public  mind  still  agi¬ 
tated  because  of  recent  events.  Glasgow  had  not  been 
brought  to  trial.  A  special  court  had  been  created  to  hear 
the  case.  The  people  were  mourning  for  Washington.  Davie 
had  not  yet  reached  Paris,  but  the  expectation  of  peace 
that  had  led  to  the  sending  of  the  commission  had  given 
confidence  that  there  would  be  no  war ;  and  the  Alien  and 
Sedition  Acts  were  being  denounced.  In  the  State  the 
people  were  returning  to  the  Republican  party. 

The  white  population  had  increased  in  the  decade  18 
per  cent;  the  free  blacks  had  increased  to  7,000,  being  about 
40  per  cent,  while  the  slaves  increased  33  per  cent.  The 
total  population  was  now  468,103. 


There  had  in  recent  years  been  more  attention  given  to 
education.  Joseph  Caldwell,  a  graduate  of  Princeton,  had 
in  1796  been  called  to  the  University.  Gen.  Benj.  Smith 
had  given  to  this  institution  20,000  acres  of  Tennessee  lands, 
and  others  had  made  liberal  donations  in  cash,  while 
Charles  Gerrard  added  in  his  will  a  bequest  of  a  valuable 
tract  of  2,560  acres,  and  the  faculty  and  student  body,  hav- 

Salem  Academy.  Opened  in  1772;  corner  stone  of  this  building  laid  in  1803 


ing  gone  through  a  season  of  turmoil,  were  both  now  on  a 
secure  foundation. 

Acts  had  been  passed  incorporating  academies  at  Eden- 
ton,  Kinston,  New  Bern,  Warrenton,  Greenville,  Wilming¬ 
ton,  in  Franklin,  in  Richmond,  Duplin,  Currituck,  two  in 
Anson,  Onslow,  Tarboro,  Lumberton,  Murfreesboro, 
in  Bladen,  Randolph,  Montgomery,  at  Salisbury,  Smithville, 
Guilford,  Fayetteville,  Raleigh,  Rockingham  and  Hyco. 
There  were  besides  numerous  private  schools  taught  by  the 
Presbyterian  ministers  and  others  throughout  the  State ; 
some  being  of  particular  merit.  In  Wilkes  there  was  main¬ 
tained  for  thirty  years  a  school,  which  was  ever  mentioned 
for  high  excellence,  and  at  Wilmington  where  the  noted 
Rev.  Robert  Tate  had  opened  a  classical  school  in  1760,  Rev. 
William  Bingham  in  1785  began  his  great  career  as  a 
teacher.  About  1800  the  Innes  Academy  was  built,  the 
first  teacher  being  Dr.  Hailing,  who  later  was  succeeded 
by  John  Rogers,  earlier  a  midshipman  in  the  naval  service, 
and  later,  when  established  at  Hillsboro,  a  doctor  of  medi¬ 
cine,  his  degree  being  obtained  at  Baltimore.  The  teacher 
at  New  Bern  for  twenty  years  was  Thomas  P.  Irving,  a 
graduate  of  Princeton. 

Williamsboro,  the  home  of  Judge  John  Williams,  a  jurist 
whose  superior  merit  was  early  recognized,  was  “a  neigh¬ 
borhood  of  cultured  people.”  John  Hicks  was  the  teacher 

At  Warrenton  there  was  a  fine  academy  for  at  least  fif¬ 
teen  years  under  the  care  of  Marcus  George,  a  graduate 
of  Trinity  College,  Dublin,  and  then  under  others  of  supe¬ 
rior  merit,  while  a  little  later  '‘The  Mordecai  Female  Sem¬ 
inary”  became  an  institution  of  great  value.  And  the  Salem 
Female  Academy  likewise  attracted  pupils  from  various 
parts  of  the  State,  every  year  becoming  more  and  more 
highlv  esteemed.  The  Caswell  Academy  was  taught  by 
Rev.  Hugh  Shaw,  with  Bartlett  Yancey  as  his  assistant: 

Cape  Fear 



Coon : 

Schools  alnd 
II,  17f. 

Smith :  Hist. 
Ed.,  p.  118 



and  the  graduates  of  the  University  were  now  finding  con¬ 
genial  employment  in  teaching. 

Hall’s  Clio  Nursery  and  Academy  of  Science  in  Iredell 
County,  for  decades  was  the  principal  factor  in  the  educa- 
Nmc.hpE38  tion  of  the  western  counties,  eventually  giving  place  to 
Davidson  College.  Hall’s  English  Grammar  was  largely 
used  as  a  textbook  in  this  and  in  the  neighboring  states. 

When  the  Raleigh  Academy  was  started  in  1802,  German 
Guthrie,  a  teacher  of  note  and  experience  was  employed; 
and  after  some  changes,  in  1810,  Rev.  William  McPheeters 
was  called  as  pastor  of  the  town  and  principal  of  the  school ; 
and  he  remained  so  for  twenty  years.  That  academy  was 
“of  two  stories,  40x24  feet,  twelve  feet  pitch,  two  doors 
and  eight  windows  on  the  first  floor ;  and  painted  inside  and 
out."  Five  years  later  a  new  building  for  the  female  de¬ 
partment  was  erected.  At  Smithfield  the  academy  was 
about  the  same  size.  That  at  Warrenton  was  larger;  while 
those  at  Oxford  and  at  Tarboro  were  still  larger,  two  stories, 
60x24  feet. 


The  profession  of  the  medical  gentlemen  was  advanced  by 
the  incorporation  of  the  State  Medical  Society,  while  in 
agriculture,  there  was  displayed  activity  and  progress. 
Among  the  leading  planters  were  Benjamin  Smith,  for  five 
terms  Speaker  of  the  Senate;  Benjamin  Williams,  the  Gov¬ 
ernor,  and  Gen.  H.  W.  Harrington,  of  Richmond  County, 
described  by  General  Smith  as  the  first  farmer  of  the  State, 
when  asking  him  to  furnish  “among  other  seed  Siberian, 
annual  and  perennial  Vetch,  Smyrna  Wheat,  Winter  Oats 
and  Spelts”;  and  they  talked  about  “Timothy  beans”  and 
“Black-eyed  peas,”  and  “some  Superior” ;  and  rice  and 
cotton ;  and  Smith  asks  Harrington  to  deliver  him  2,000 
bushels  of  corn  at  Georgetown;  and  says:  “Notwithstand¬ 
ing  the  great  cry  about  cotton,  I  think  the  best  farming  we 


can  go  in  would  be  to  sow  a  crop  of  wheat  and,  immedi¬ 
ately  after  it  is  off,  put  in  corn.”  However,  he  was  planting 
cotton  “in  hills  four  feet  equidistant,”  and  was  solicitous 
about  the  gins.  And  certainly  there  were  others,  in 
Edgecombe  particularly,  but  generally  in  every  county,  quite 
as  progressive  and  eager  for  improvement.  Indeed  the 
State  at  once  purchased  from  Eli  Whitney  and  his  partner 
the  right  to  use,  make  and  sell  their  patented  cotton  gin  in 
the  State,  and  the  difficulty  in  preparing  the  staple  for 
market  now  being  removed  a  great  demand  sprang  up  for  ^  state 
cotton  and  a  new  day  for  cotton  and  for  the  South  was  cot 

ushered  in. 


Nor  was  the  Assembly  indifferent  to  transportation.  The 
roads  were  bad,  the  farms  isolated,  and  at  least  7,000  hogs¬ 
heads  of  tobacco  were  hauled  from  the  State  to  Petersburg  . 
alone,  while  in  the  eastern  counties,  remarked  General 
Washington,  barrels  of  turpentine  were  rolled  in  the  same 
style.  But  water  transportation  first  claimed  attention. 
“Thirty-four  thousand  people  on  the  Catawba  are  now  de¬ 
nied  transportation  facilities,”  said  the  Assembly ;  and 
therefore  provision  was  made  for  the  improvement  of  that 
river.  Likewise  in  1796,  bills  were  passed  for  improving 
the  transportation  of  the  Roanoke,  for  cutting  a  canal  to  pavement 
the  river  Pungo,  near  Plymouth ;  to  improve  the  Cape  Fear, 
the  Deep  and  the  Haw,  to  facilitate  the  navigation  of  the 
Yadkin  and  'the  Pee  Dee,  to  improve  the  Tar,  the  Meherrin, 
the  Hyco,  and  the  Great  Contentnea.  Apparently  the  entire 
river  system  was  calling  for  attention  and  public  thought 
was  aroused  on  the  subject  of  water  transportation;  while 
the  completion  of  the  Dismal  Swamp  Canal  was  looked 
forward  to  with  great  interest. 


1 66 

Horse  racing 

In  these  years  there  were  also  some  choice  spirits  who 
were  addicted  to  horseflesh.  Fine  stock  was  valued.  Rac¬ 
ing  was  interesting.  Betting  was  allowed.  One  of  the 
fastest  horses  in  the  State,  perhaps  in  any  state,  was  jointly 
owned  by  a  group  of  Cape  Fear  gentlemen  and  trained  at 
Hyrneham,  on  Rocky  Point,  by  DeKeyser,  an  Austrian 
officer;  another  was  Hyder  Ali,  the  patriot  of  India  being 
such  a  favorite  that  Davie  called  a  son  after  him,  and  Mr. 
Williams  his  great  horse.  At  a  later  date,  in  1823,  the 
Edenton  Gazette  said:  “We  stated  in  our  last  as  our  belief 
that  Betsy  Richards,  who  beat  Cock  of  the  Rock  with  so 
much  ease,  was  raised  and  owned  by  Colonel  Johnson,  of 
Virginia.  This  is  not  correct — Betsy  Richards  belongs  to 
William  Amis,  Esq.,  who  owns  her  dame  and  sire,  the  cele¬ 
brated  Sir  Archy.  Flying  Cinders,  who  beat  in  two  heats, 
with  great  ease,  the  Long  Island  mare  Slow  and  Easy,  is  an 
Archy  from  North  Carolina  but  owned  by  Mr.  William 
Wynne,  of  Virginia.  So  that  it  appears  that  Henry,  Betsy 
Richards,  John  Richards  and  Flying  Cinders,  the  best 
coursers  of  the  day,  are  all  North  Carolina  horses  and  not 
Virginia.  (The  breed  of  Virginia  horses  and  Virginia 
presidents  gave  out  at  the  same  time.)”  And  under  the 
heading,  “Sports  of  the  Turf,”  the  Post  of  May  5,  1823, 
had  this  item:  “The  Halifax  (N.  C.)  races  commenced  on 
Wednesday  1 6,  of  last  month.  It  is  rumored,  says  the 
Edenton  Gazette,  that  John  Richards,  four  years  old,  a  horse 
of  great  bottom,  will  be  taken  to  the  Long  Island  races,  to 
commence  in  May.”  In  a  suit  brought  by  Williams  against 
Stephen  Cabarrus,  who  held  stakes,  $500,  the  race  between 
Sentinel  and  Hyder  Ali  is  well  told.  But  while  betting 
was  allowed,  the  Legislature  deemed  it  prudent  to  enact 
that  no  bet  on  a  horse  race  should  be  valid  unless  in  writ¬ 
ing,  under  seal,  and  with  witnesses.  And  the  Legislature 
further  forbade  all  games  of  betting,  faro,  and  billiards. 


1 67 

But  the  Assembly  was  not  averse  to  lotteries.  Lotteries 
were  authorized  for  schools  and  other  purposes,  and  one 
for  “The  Halifax  Cotton  Manufactory,”  which,  if  built,  an¬ 
tedated  all  others  in  the  State  by  a  decade. 


There  was  some  tendency  to  move  to  Tennessee,  where 
many  had  lands  doubtless  granted  for  Revolutionary  serv¬ 
ices.  General  Willis  was  thinking  of  moving.  Similarly,  a 
letter  to  him  in  1800  reads:  “I  tell  you  I  still  am  fully  deter¬ 
mined  to  make  an  excursion  next  spring  towards  the 
Nachez  and  Mississippi,  as  I  think  it  the  duty  of  every  man 
of  family  to  endeavor  to  establish  such  settlement  as  will 
be  of  lasting  advantage  to  his  progeny  and  this  part  of  the 
world.”  About  that  time  Willis  established  a  mail  line 
from  Fayetteville  to  Tennessee.  A  license  was  issued  by 
Duncan  McRae,  the  United  States  Internal  Revenue  Col¬ 
lector,  for  nine  dollars  for  “a  four  wheeled  carriage  called  a 
coache,  owned  by  General  John  Willis  and  having  a  top  and 
on  springs  and  to  be  drawn  by  four  horses,  for  the  con¬ 
veyance  of  more  than  one  person,  for  the  year  ending  30th 
September,  1802.”  This  also  carried  the  mail.  Later 
Willis  located  in  Tennessee. 

That  the  State  was  not  entirely  removed  from  its  pris¬ 
tine  wilderness  is  evidenced  by  the  bills  to  destroy  wolves 
and  panthers  in  Onslow,  Moore,  Montgomery,  Iredell,  Ber¬ 
tie  and  in  many  other  counties.  In  New  Hanover  the 
wolves  were  not  unknown  until  the  railroad  was  built  many 
years  later,  and  then  they  abandoned  their  ancestral  homes. 
They  evidently  were  distrustful  of  the  engines  breathing 
fire  and  smoke. 

Women’s  work 

In  their  homes,  while  the  men  were  busy  with  outdoor 
work,  the  women  were  likewise  fully  engaged.  A  record 
is  to  this  effect:  “I  was  born  in  Nixonton  the  14th  of 


Mail  coaches 

Wolves  and 


1 68 

March,  1789,  one  mile  from  Hall’s  Creek;  and  in  a  little 
rise  of  ground  from  the  bridge  stood  the  big  oak  where 
the  first  settlers  held  the  Assemblies.  My  mother  had  a 
great  deal  of  spinning,  warping,  weaving  and  quilting  to 
do,  and  clothes  to  make  for  the  negroes.  I  commenced  at 
five  years  old  to  help  her.  Quilting,  I  believe,  was  the  first 
thing  I  commenced  doing.  After  a  while  I  could  hand  the 
threads  to  put  in  the  stays  to  weave;  and  I  learnt  to  sew 
on  the  coarse  shirts.”  Such  was  a  part  of  the  ordinary  work 
in  the  homes  in  North  Carolina.  The  spinning  jenny  and 
the  hand  loom  were  on  every  plantation  and  on  many  farms, 
making  linen,  woolen  and  cotton  cloth,  and  the  mistress  had 
to  have  the  clothes  made  for  the  family  including  the 

Tlie  religious  situation 

The  condition  of  religion  in  the  sparsely  inhabited  set¬ 
tlements  was  deplorable.  Of  people  there  were  few,  and 
besides  these  natural  conditions  a  wave  of  infidelity  had 
swept  over  the  country  and  many  of  those  who  were  leaders 
of  thought  had  turned  away  from  the  Christian  doctrine 
and  had  set  up  instead  a  rule  of  reason.  It  was  somewhat, 
due  to  the  French  Revolution,  but  Paine’s  writings  were 
largely  read,  and  Paine  it  was  who  had  first  stirred  the 
people  to  stand  for  independence.  “The  whole  subject  of 
religion  was  investigated  anew.  The  arguments  against  the 
Bible  were  set  forth  in  formidable  array :  Paine’s  Age  of 
Reason  passed  from  hand  to  hand,  and  the  infidel  produc¬ 
tions  of  France  flooded  the  country:  the  strongest  holds  of 
religion  were  shaken ;  and  in  many  places,  the  arguments 
for  reason,  as  paramount  to  revelation,  gained  a  temporary 
victory.  It  was  while  infidelity  was  striding  throughout 
„  .  ,  the  land  that  Kerr,  the  first  executive  of  the  University, 

Sketches  who  had  been  a  Presbyterian  minister  and  had  preached 

at  Fayetteville  for  two  years,  became  an  infidel,  and  Holmes, 
his  assistant,  did  the  same  and  taught  “there  is  no  such 



thing  as  virtue.”  Kerr  was  dismissed  in  1796,  and  Holmes 
three  years  later.  Kerr  subsequently  taught  school  again 
at  Fayetteville,  and  was  appointed  by  Jefferson  a  judge  in 
the  Territory  of  Mississippi.  Dr.  Caldwell,  the  President 
of  the  University,  is  quoted  as  writing  in  1797:  “In  North 
Carolina,  particularly  in  that  part  that  lies  east  of  us,  every 
one  believes  that  the  first  step  he  ought  to  take  to  rise 
into  respectability  is  to  disavow,  as  often  and  as  publicly 
as  he  can,  all  regard  for  the  leading  doctrines  of  the  Scrip¬ 
tures.”  While  this  is  surely  overdrawn,  yet  it  gives  ex¬ 
pression  to  the  prevailing  tone  of  society.  In  many  minds 
reason  had  displaced  confidence  in  revelation.  It  was  so 
easy  to  disbelieve  in  company  with  others.  This  general 
condition  is  somewhat  depicted  in  Mr.  Asbury’s  journal  at 
this  period. 

Glimpses  of  conditions 

Rev.  Francis  Asbury  had  for  twenty  years  and  more  been 
traveling  throughout  the  states  as  a  Methodist  preacher, 
but  about  the  opening  of  the  century  was  appointed  a  super¬ 
intendent  with  general  oversight  and  authority,  and  later 
was  made  a  bishop.  He  spent  his  life  in  visiting  all  the 
circuits  from  Maine,  through  Ohio  and  Kentucky  and  along 
the  seaboard  to  Georgia.  He  passed  through  North  Caro¬ 
lina  more  than  a  dozen  times,  and  he  and  his  companions 
did  a  great  work  in  carrying  Methodism  into  the  remotest 
neighborhoods  and  supplying  the  needs  of  the  religious  life 
in  many  communities. 

The  Church  of  England  had  ceased  to  be  an  organized 
influence ;  the  Presbyterians  occupied  the  central  counties, 
interspersed  with  the  Baptists,  who  branched  out  from  the 
great  central  source  on  Sandy  Creek  where  Elder  Stearns 
had  thoroughly  established  them ;  and  on  the  waters  of  the 
Catawba  likewise  were  German  Lutherans. 



N.  C.  Hist. 
Bap.  Papers, 
II,  No.  2 


In  the  eastern  and  northern  counties  while  all  denomina¬ 
tions  were  represented  the  Baptists  were  by  far  the  most 

The  Kehukee  Association,,  long  established,  extended 
from  Currituck  to  the  Haywood  or  Crocker  meeting  house 
near  Warrenton. 

Of  Bishop  Asbury  this  should  be  remarked :  he  cared  for 
the  human  soul  whether  in  a  black  or  white  body;  and  his 
colaborers  urged  the  emancipation  of  the  negroes.  Particu¬ 
larly  was  he  interested  in  what  had  taken  place  in  Fay¬ 
etteville.  A  negro,  Evans,  coming  to  Fayetteville,  estab¬ 
lished  a  Methodist  church  in  that  town,  at  first  attended  only 
by  negroes,  then  by  the  whites,  who  were  attracted  by  his 
preaching.  And  similarly,  later  at  Wilmington,  a  Metho¬ 
dist  church  was  started  by  the  negroes,  and  then  attended 
by  the  whites.  Wherever  Asbury  went  he  was  heard  by 
the  negroes  of  the  neighborhood.  He  records : 

Edenton,  December,  1796.  “I  journeyed  all  through  the 
damp  weather,  and  reached  Pettigrew’s  about  six  o’clock. 
Here  I  received  a  letter  from  Mr.  Wesley,  in  which  he  di¬ 
rects  me  to  act  as  general  assistant.  I  preached  in  Edenton 
to  a  gay,  inattentive  people.  I  was  much  pleased  with  Mr. 
Pettigrew :  I  heard  him  preach  and  received  the  Lord’s 
Supper  at  his  hands.” 

Of  New  Bern  he  wrote:  “This  is  a  growing  place.  Our 
society  here,  of  white  and  colored  members,  consists  of  one 
hundred,  .  .  .  should  piety,  health  and  trade  attend 

this  New  Bern  it  will  be  a  very  capital  place  in  half  a  cen¬ 
tury  from  this.” 

At  Wilmington,  he  found :  “This  town  has  suffered  by 
two  dreadful  fires ;  but  the  people  are  rebuilding  swiftly. 
The  people  were  very  attentive.”  On  another  occasion  at 
Wilmington,  Sunday:  “The  bell  went  round  to  give  notice 
and  I  preached  to  a  large  congregation.  When  I  had  done, 
behold,  F.  Hill  came  into  the  room  powdered  off,  with  a 
number  of  fine  ladies  and  gentlemen.  I  heard  him  out :  I 



verily  believe  his  sermon  was  his  own,  it  was  so  much  like 
his  conversation.” 

On  February  26,  1800:  “When  we  came  into  North  Caro¬ 
lina,  we  found  that  on  the  Pee  Dee,  Yadkin  and  Deep  rivers, 
the  snow  had  fallen  fifteen  and  eighteen  inches  deep  and 
continued  nearly  a  month  on  the  ground,  and  had  swelled 
the  rivers  and  spoiled  the  public  roads. 

“We  had  no  small  race  through  Chatham  County;  we 
were  lost  three  times  before  we  came  to  Clark’s  ferry  on 
Haw  River,  and  had  to  send  a  boy  a  mile  for  the  ferryman.” 

March  4:  “A  clear,  but  very  cold  day.  We  were  treated 
with  great  respect  at  the  University  by  the  president,  S  Raleigh 
Caldwell,  and  the  students,  citizens  and  many  of  the  country 

Two  days  later:  “We  came  to  Raleigh,  the  seat  of  gov¬ 
ernment.  I  preached  in  the  State  House.  Notwithstand¬ 
ing  this  day  was  very  cold  and  snowy,  we  had  many  people 
to  hear.”  -  -  *  - 

There  was  no  Episcopal  minister  in  that  part  of  the  State, 

Mr.  Asbury  narrates,  for  February  26,  1801,  at  Wilmington, 
he  “preached  for  the  first  time  in  our  house ;  we  were  Wllminston 
crowded.  One  of  the  respectables  came  in  the  name  of  the 
respectables  to  request  that  I  would  preach  in  the  ancient, 
venerable  brick  church.  At  four  we  had  a  large  and  decent 
congregation.”  On  a  subsequent  visit,  he  said:  “We  have 
878  Africans  and  a  few  whites  in  fellowship.  .  .  The  Asbury,  in, 

Africans  hire  their  own  time  of  their  masters,  labor  and  93 
grow  wealthy ;  they  have  built  houses  on  the  church  lots.  I 
hope  to  be  able  to  establish  a  school  for  their  children.” 

Again  writing  in  1806:  “We  had  about  1,500  hearers  in 
our  house  of  worship — 66  by  33  feet,  galleried  all  around. 

There  may  be  five  thousand  souls  in  Wilmington,  one-fourth 
of  which  number,  it  may  be,  were  present.” 

Of  New  Bern,  he  said  (1802)  :  “New  Bern  is  a  growing.  New  Bern 
trading  town.  There  are  seven  hundred  or  a  thousand 
houses  already  built,  and  the  number  is  yearly  increasing, 



among  which  are  some  respectable  brick  edifices :  the  new 
courthouse,  truly  so,  neat  and  elegant ;  another  famous 
house,  said  to  be  designed  for  the  Masonic  and  theatrical 
gentlemen ;  it  might  make  a  most  excellent  church.  The 
population  may  amount  to  3,500  or  4,000  souls.” 

The  first 
camp  meet¬ 

376,  382 

The  revival 

But  with  the  opening  of  the  century  a  most  remarkable 
revival  began.  It  is  said  to  have  begun  at  a  funeral,  where 
spirituous  liquors  were  freely  offered  along  with  provisions, 
as  was  the  custom  in  those  days.  Rev.  James  McCready, 
being  a  young  licentiate,  was  called  on  to  ask  a  blessing  on 
the  refreshments,  and  he  refused.  His  stand  begat  an  in¬ 
terest,  and  his  preaching  attracted  attention  all  through 
the  Haw  River  country.  Excitement  began  and  spread 
throughout  all  that  section.  McCready  moved  to  Kentucky 
and  his  ministrations  there  had  a  similar  influence.  At  one 
of  his  meetings,  in  June,  1800,  there  was  a  wonderful  ex¬ 
citement.  “Multitudes  were  struck  under  awful  conviction. 
Cries  of  the  distressed  filled  the  whole  house.”  From  this 
place  it  spread  throughout  Kentucky,  Tennessee,  Ohio  and 
ultimately  over  the  whole  South  and  West.  The  accounts 
of  these  meetings  are  surprising,  how  the  people  were  af¬ 
fected,  physically  as  well  as  mentally.  The  excitement 
grew  in  North  Carolina.  In  October,  1801,  a  great  meeting 
was  held  at  Hawfields,  in  Orange.  It  continued  five  days 
without  intermission,  religious  exercises  lasting  all  day  and 
far  into  the  night.  This  is  regarded  as  the  first  camp  meet¬ 
ing  in  North  Carolina.  They  soon  became  common,  log 
cabins  being  built  at  the  places  where  they  were  to  be  held. 
At  a  meeting  in  March,  1802,  in  Iredell  County  besides 
riding  carriages,  there  were  262  wagons  on  the  ground. 
The  services  lasted  five  days  and  there  were  between  8,000 
and  10,000  people  in  attendance.  There  were  four  wor¬ 
shiping  assemblies.  There  were  present  14  Presbyterian 


1 73 

ministers,  3  Methodist,  2  Baptist,  1  Episcopalian,  1  Dutch 
Calvinist  and  2  German  Lutherans. 

In  the  northeast  among  the  Baptists  there  was  the  same 
experience,  Elder  Burkett,  the  Baptist  missionary,  having  re¬ 
turned  from  Kentucky  and  Tennessee.  Thousands  left  their 
homes  for  days  to  attend  camp  meetings.  At  Murfrees¬ 
boro,  four  thousand  stood  out  in  the  rain  for  hours,  while 
Burkett  addressed  them. 

In  the  Cape  Fear  country  it  was  the  same.  The  inhab¬ 
itants  poured  out  to  the  camp  meetings.  A  wave  of  deep 
religious  interest  swept  throughout  the  country  and  the  peo¬ 
ple  responded  with  amazing  alacrity.  Thousands  congregated 
in  camps  where  services  were  held  morning,  noon  and  night 
for  days  together.  Presbyterians,  Baptists  and  Methodists 
and  families  long  since  not  associated  with  any  organization 
whatever  flocked  together  and  fell  under  the  influence  of 
the  prevailing  spirit.  Many  extravagances  attended  some  of 
these  meetings.  The  ecstasy  of  religious  fervor  knew  no 
limits  and  its  manifestations  were  often  singular  and  start¬ 
ling  as  acts  of  devotion. 

The  jerks 

In  North  Carolina  the  revival  was  not  at  first  attended 
by  bodily  movements.  But  after  some  months  these  mani¬ 
festations  appeared  among  the  Presbyterians  in  the  central 
section  of  the  State.  In  a  general  way  they  were  called  the 
jerks,  but  they  took  many  varying  shapes.  They  spread  west 
of  the  Yadkin  and  southward  into  South  Carolina;  but  in 
these  states  they  did  not  approach  the  excesses  of  Ohio  and 
Kentucky.  They  were  not  so  powerful  in  their  operations  in 
the  eastern  counties.  Rev.  Samuel  McCorkle,  writing  Jan¬ 
uary  8,  1802,  says  of  a  meeting  three  days  earlier,  where 
there  were  some  2,000  people:  “Just  then  rose  a  speaker 
to  give  a  short  parting  exhortation,  but  wonderful  to  tell, 
as  if  by  an  electric  shock,  a  large  number  in  every  direc¬ 
tion,  men,  women,  children,  white  and  black,  fell  and  cried 

Moore : 









for  mercy;  while  others  appeared,  in  every  quarter,  either 
praying  for  the  fallen,  or  exhorting  bystanders  to  repent 
and  believe.  This,  to  me  perfectly  new  and  sudden  sight,  I 
viewed  with  horror.”  But  Mr.  McCorkle’s  horror  later 
vanished  when  he  became  accustomed  to  the  jerks  that 
prevailed  at  every  meeting.  One  account  of  this  singular 
exhibition  is:  “I  saw  numbers  exercised  in  this  way  at  a 
camp  meeting  held  in  Lincoln  County.  Sometimes  their 
heads  would  be  jerked  backward  and  forward  with  such 
violence  that  it  would  cause  them  to  utter  involuntarily  a 
sharp,  quick  sound  similar  to  the  yelp  of  a  dog;  and  the  hair 
of  the  women  to  crack  like  a  whip.  Sometimes  their  arms, 
with  clenched  fists,  would  be  jerked  in  alternate  directions 
with  such  force  as  seemed  sufficient  almost  to  separate  them 
from  the  body.  Sometimes  all  their  limbs  would  be  affected, 
and  they  would  be  thrown  into  almost  every  imaginable 
position,  and  it  was  as  impossible  to  hold  them  as  to  hold 
a  wild  horse.  When  a  woman  was  exercised  in  this  way, 
other  women  would  join  hands  around  her  and  keep  her 
within  the  circle  they  formed ;  but  the  men  were  left  without 
constraint  to  jerk  at  large  through  the  congregation,  over 
benches,  over  logs  and  even  over  fences.  I  have  seen 
persons  exercised  in  such  a  way  that  they  would  go  all  over 
the  floor  with  a  quick,  dancing  motion,  and  with  such  rapid¬ 
ity  that  their  feet  would  rattle  upon  the  floor  like  drum¬ 
sticks.”  One  minister  who  years  later  was  much  venerated 
gave  this  personal  experience :  “After  a  prayer  in  the  house, 
he  walked  out.  He  was  seized  in  a  most  surprising  manner. 
Suddenly  he  began  leaping  about,  first  forward,  then  side¬ 
ways,  and  sometimes  standing  still,  would  swing  backward 
and  forward,  ‘see-saw  fashion.’  This  motion  of  the  body 
was  both  involuntary  and  irresistible  at  the  commencement ; 
and  afterwards  there  was  scarcely  a  disposition  to  resist. 
The  people  in  the  house  came  running  to  his  relief  and 
carried  him  in  their  arms  to  the  dwelling.  The  fit  lasted 
about  an  hour,  during  which  time,  if  the  attendants  let  go 



their  hold,  he  would  jerk  about  the  room  as  he  had  done  in 
the  field.”  He  had  several  returns  of  the  jerks,  when  in  the 
pulpit,  and  when  not. 

These  bodily  exercises  prevailed  for  some  years  in  all 
the  meetings  held  in  the  central  counties,  but  by  degrees  they 
lost  their  hold  on  the  public  mind  as  being  a  part  of  reli¬ 
gious  experience,  for  persons  who  had  no  sense  of  religion 
were  frequently  subject  to  the  same  fits.  And  after  a  while 
the  preachers  not  only  discountenanced  them,  but  censured 
them ;  and  long  before  the  devotion  to  religion  ceased  these 
bodily  performances  became  confined  to  only  a  few  neigh¬ 
borhoods  in  the  State. 

Separated  from  its  objectionable  experiences  the  revival 
during  these  early  years  of  the  century  was  most  salutary 
in  its  effects,  reforming  the  life  of  the  people,  and  instilling 
and  emphasizing  religious  and  moral  principles,  and  promot¬ 
ing  domestic  happiness. 

State  affairs 

Judge  Iredell  died  on  October  20,  1799,  at  his  home  in 
Edenton,  just  as  he  had  completed  his  49th  year,  still  in  the 
prime  of  his  extraordinary  powers  and  in  the  height  of  his 
great  usefulness.  He  took  rank  among  the  very  foremost 
of  the  illustrious  men  who  have  given  character  to  North 
Carolina.  His  correspondence  having  been  preserved  and 
published  by  Griffith  J.  McRee,  himself  of  distinguished 
attainments  and  abilities,  has  illuminated  an  interesting  pe¬ 
riod  of  our  history,  while  its  excellence  is  highly  creditable 
to  the  social  conditions  it  portrays.  To  succeed  him  on  the 
bench  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States,  Presi¬ 
dent  Adams  selected  Judge  Alfred  Moore,  who  was  nomi¬ 
nated,  confirmed  and  appointed  on  December  10,  1799. 

Judge  Moore’s  resignation  having  created  a  vacancy  after 
the  Legislature  had  adjourned,  Governor  Williams,  with  the 
concurrence  of  his  Council,  tendered  the  position  to  Sam 
Johnston,  and,  in  urging  him  to  accept,  dwelt  on  the  creation 




Death  of 

Judge  Sam 




of  the  new  court  to  be  organized  at  Raleigh,  which  it  was 
hoped  might  at  length  develop  into  a  court  of  appeals  such 
as  Governor  Johnston  desired.  “It  may  be  the  beginning,’’ 
said  the  Governor,  “of  a  radical  change  in  the  judicial 

Governor  Johnston’s  acceptance  brought  to  the  bench  the 
most  eminent  citizen  of  the  State,  and  a  sound  lawyer. 

The  Glasgow  trial 

The  judges,  among  them  John  Haywood,  who  was  es¬ 
teemed  the  greatest  criminal  lawyer  of  his  time  and  was 
certainly  very  learned,  were  to  hold  the  court  for  the  trial 
of  Glasgow,  to  which  the  people  were  looking  forward  with 
intense  interest.  They  were  to  meet  in  June  for  the  great 
trial.  In  May  Judge  Haywood  held  the  Superior  Court 
at  Halifax  and  returned  to  his  home  in  Franklin  County. 
A  few  days  later  he  was  persuaded  by  a  fee  of  $1,000  to 
resign  and  undertake  Glasgow’s  defense.  In  his  resigna¬ 
tion  he  mentioned  to  the  Governor  that  for  two  years  it  had 
been  commonly  understood  that  he  must  retire  from  the 
bench.  He  indicated  that  because  of  the  inadequate  com¬ 
pensation  the  step  was  necessary.  The  other  judges  held 
the  court.  Spruce  McCay  was  the  senior  judge  and  pre¬ 
sided,  his  associates  being  Taylor  and  Johnston;  a  court  of 
the  highest  merit,  whose  decisions  while  offering  certain 
justice  to  the  culprits  would  assuredly  receive  the  assent 
of  the  State.  And  now  all  eyes  were  turned  to  the  scene. 
Seldom  has  a  trial  so  greatly  absorbed  public  attention — 
the  chief  defendant  was  a  public  character  whose  long  career 
had  until  this  period  been  marked  with  particular  excellence 
and  now,  singularly  enough,  defended  by  one  who  had  with 
unusual  luster  worn  the  judicial  ermine,  while  the  issues 
were  of  the  highest  concern  to  the  people  of  the  State. 

The  web  of  evidence  woven  was  too  strong  to  be  broken 
even  by  the  great  lawyer  for  the  defense.  Glasgow  was 
convicted  and  was  fined  two  thousand  pounds,  while  the 



negro  who  had  attempted  to  burn  the  State  House  suffered 
the  severest  penalty  of  the  law ;  he  was  executed.  The 
other  officials  thought  to  have  been  involved  in  the  frauds 
escaped  punishment. 

Judge  Haywood’s  action  in  resigning  to  defend  Glasgow 
was  considered  as  a  stain,  and  it  bore  hard  upon  him.  At 
the  following  elections,  he  was  a  candidate  both  for  the 
Assembly  and  as  an  elector;  and  he  failed' in  each  instance. 
Indeed,  a  lawyer  writing  from  Franklin  County  asserted 
that  he  “would  not  poll  fifty  votes  in  that  county.”  Despite 
his  strong  family  connections  and  his  deserved  reputation 
for  profound  learning  he  lost  public  favor  and  made ‘a  ter¬ 
rible  sacrifice  without  avail.  Later,  a  great  fee  carried  him 
to  Tennessee,  where  he  located  and  became  the  Chief  Justice 
of  that  State,  and  the  author  of  a  valuable  history  of  Ten¬ 
nessee  and  of  other  publications. 

The  newspapers 

The  publication  of  the  Register  at  Raleigh  led  Hodge  and 
his  nephew,  William  Boylan,  who  were  publishing  the 
Minerva  and  Advertiser  at  Fayetteville,  to  move  that  paper 
to  the  capital,  and  presently  the  little  village  became  the  seat 
of  a  newspaper  warfare  that  for  a  century  with  some  inter¬ 
missions  continued  to  enlist  the  sympathies  of  interested 
partisans  and  friends.  Except  during  the  year  1789  when 
A.  Hall  at  Wilmington  was  the  printer  to  the  State,  Hodge 
had  done  that  work  for  years,  and  he  was  well  prepared  to 
execute  it,  for  he  printed  books,  almanacs  and  other  publi¬ 
cations  at  Halifax,  where  likewise  he  had  a  printing  office. 

During  the  summer  the  Republicans  began  to  talk  of 
sustaining  the  Register  by  giving  the  printing  to  Mr.  Gales. 
This  the  Federals  denounced  as  using  the  State  patronage 
to  help  a  party  organ,  and  why  should  a  change  be  made 
when  Hodge  was  a  good  Federalist?  But  when  the  war 
fever  abated,  the  Federalists  had  lost  control  of  the  State, 

and  Gales’s  friends  were  successful  in  the  Assembly,  al- 


1 78 


though  the  Federalists  elected  five  representatives  in  .Con¬ 
gress,  and  Adams  secured  four  of  the  electoral  votes  of  the 
State.  When  the  Assembly  met,  the  complexion  of  the 
Senate  being  changed,  General  Smith  was  not  reelected 
Speaker,  Gen.  Joseph  Riddick  of  Gates  being  his  successor. 
In  the  House,  Cabarrus  was  retained,  and  Williams  re¬ 
mained  Governor. 

Two  judges  were  to  be  chosen,  one  in  place  of  Haywood, 
and  Johnston’s  appointment  having  been  only  temporary. 
There  were  many  aspirants.  For  four  days  the  balloting 
continued  amid  great  interest,  then  Johnston  was  chosen 
to  retain  his  place,  and  the  next  day,  December  13,  1800, 
John  Hall  of  Warren  was  elected.  While  such  an  array  of 
talent  as  the  other  candidates  afforded  was  highly  credita¬ 
ble  to  the  State,  the  result  was  happy.  Johnston  was  an 
ornament  to  the  bench,  and  Hall  proved  an  excellent  judge. 
His  opinions  are  models  of  pure  diction  and  perspicacity; 
short,  clear,  sound,  learned  and  logical,  they  have  long 
been  appreciated  by  the  profession. 

Bloodworth’s  term  in  the  Senate  was  about  to  expire. 
At  the  election  of  a  successor,  Stone,  Davie,  Bloodworth  and 
Locke  were  voted  for;  Stone  was  chosen,  and  so  was  trans¬ 
ferred  from  the  House  of  Representatives  to  the  Senate. 
His  rise  in  political  affairs  was  phenomenal.  A  man  of 
talent,  he  was  fortunate  in  being  fully  appreciated.  Blood- 
worth,  never  equal  to  the  high  duties  of  Senator,  was 
subsequently  appointed  Collector  of  Customs  at  Wilmineton, 
a  position  much  more  suited  to  his  talents  than  Senator. 

In  the  electoral  college 

Aaron  Burr  of  New  York,  a  man  of  fine  attainments,  the 
rival  of  Alexander  Hamilton,  but  with  an  ambition  that 
led  to  devious  paths,  was  the  running  mate  of  Jefferson  in 
the  Presidential  election.  New  England  and  the  Northern 
States,  except  New  York,  stood  fast  against  Virginia;  but 
Adams  lost  votes  at  the  South,  and  the  Democratic  candi- 



dates  received  five  more  votes  than  at  the  previous  election, 
and  won. 

It  happened,  however,  that  Burr  received  the  same  vote 
as  Jefferson,  so  it  became  necessary  for  the  House  of  Repre¬ 
sentatives  to  elect  one  of  them  President.  In  that  body, 
in  such  an  election,  each  state  has  but  a  single  vote,  the  pro¬ 
ceeding  being  an  election  by  the  states,  and  a  majority  of 
all  the  states  is  necessary  to  an  election.  While  eight  states 
voted  for  Jefferson,  six  voted  for  Burr,  and  the  Repre¬ 
sentatives  from  two  being  equally  divided,  they  could  not 
vote  at  all.  A  week  passed  in  fruitless  ballotings,  but  on 
the  36th  ballot,  Jefferson  received  a  majority  and  became 
President,  Burr  being  the  Vice-President. 

The  new  President,  not  forgetful  of  the  anxious  years  he 
had  passed  and  of  the  narrow  margin  by  which  he  at  last 
succeeded,  like  an  adroit  politician,  took  measures  to 
strengthen  his  party.  He  soon  proclaimed,  “we  are  all 
Federalists ;  we  are  all  Republicans” ;  and  he  wanted  it  un¬ 
derstood  that  we  were  all  Americans  and  patriots.  He  re¬ 
tained  in  office  many  Federalists  and  offered  desirable  posi¬ 
tions  to  others.  He  was  astute  to  reconcile  those  who  might 
be  helpful  to  his  administration. 


Republicans  in  Power 

Macon  Speaker. — Appointments  tendered  Davie,  Steele  and 
Hawkins. — The  Federalists  sustain  the  Minerva. — The  Federal 
Court. — The  “midnight  judges.” — Dominie  A.  Hall  circuit  judge. 
— Court  held  at  Bloomsbury. — Potter  judge. — The  Court  of  Con¬ 
ference. — Women  heir  to  husbands  in  certain  cases. — The  new 
Judiciary  Act  repealed. — Chief  Justice  Marshall. — His  views. — 
Death  of  Charles  Johnson. — Duel  between  Stanly  and  Spaight. — 
A  drastic  law  enacted. — Negro  insurrections. — Governor  Wil¬ 
liams  urges  general  education. — Graham’s  plan. — Colonel  Ashe 
elected  Governor. — Dies. — Turner  Governor. — The  Tuscarora 
reservation  to  belong  to  the  State. — The  Federalists  lose  popu¬ 
larity. — Davie  and  Alston. — Davie  leaves  the  State. — Both  houses 
of  Congress  presided  over  by  North  Carolinians. — Turner  urges 
education. — Dudley’s  measure. — O’Farrell’s  Bill. — The  House 
more  conservative  than  the  Senate. — Louisiana  purchased. — New 
England  alarmed. — Considers  a  northern  confederacy. — The  im¬ 
portance  of  the  territory. — Robert  Williams. — Emigration. 

Speaker  Macon 

Willie  Jones  having  died  in  1801  his  mantle  had  fallen 
on  the  shoulders  of  Nathaniel  Macon,  the  representative 
from  the  Warren  district.  Besides  now  for  the  first  time 
the  speakership  of  the  Federal  House  of  Representatives 
was  accorded  to  the  South,  and  Macon  was  elected  Speaker. 
As  such,  he  was  brought  nearer  than  ever  to  the  President, 
and  there  were  close  and  cordial  relations  between  them. 
He  was  very  much  of  a  politician,  and  thought  it  best  to 
appoint  to  office  men  in  line  with  Republican  policies,  and 
he  cooperated  with  the  President  in  tendering  appointments 
to  Davie  and  Steele.  Davie  had  returned  from  France  in 
December,  1800.  He  had  not  yielded  to  the  solicitations 
of  his  friends  to  contest  the  seat  in  Congress  with  Willis 
Alston,  but  in  January,  1801,  he  accepted  employment  from 
Governor  Williams  to  establish  the  line  between  North  and 
South  Carolina. 



In  June  Jefferson  and  Macon  offered  Davie  and  Benjamin 
Hawkins  very  considerable  employment,  on  a  commission  to 
negotiate  treaties  with  the  southwest  tribes  of  Indians. 
Hawkins  accepted ;  but  Davie  already  had  other  engage¬ 
ments.  However,  in  a  letter  to  Steele,  in  August,  Davie 
related  the  circumstances,  and  said :  “My  Federal  friends 
were  generally  violently  opposed  to  my  acceptance,  while 
those  who  are  attached  to  the  principles  of  the  present  ad¬ 
ministration  discovered  great  anxiety  that  I  should  accept 
the  appointment.”  He  himself  apparently  saw  nothing  to 
forbid  it,  but  he  declined  because  of  other  engagements. 
Indeed,  one  of  the  matters  then  uppermost  in  his  thoughts 
was  to  secure  the  future  of  his  party.  He  opened  up  a 
correspondence  with  Steele  and  others  for  forming  plans  to 
that  end.  The  result  was  that  the  Minerva  at  Raleigh  was 
to  be  sustained  by  voluntary  subscriptions  made  by  a  num¬ 
ber  of  gentlemen,  one  of  the  objects  being  to  counteract 
“the  wild  and  visionary  projects  of  Democracy  and  estab¬ 
lish  the  practical  principles  of  Federalism.” 

Federal  Court 

But  while  Jefferson  was  seeking  to  build  up  his  party,  he 
was  not  complacent  regarding  the  action  of  the  Adams  ad¬ 
ministration.  He  regarded  the  Alien  and  Sedition  Acts  as 
unconstitutional  and  manifested  his  opinion  by  releasing 
men  who  had  been  imprisoned  under  them.  The  Judiciary 
Act  had  hurriedly  been  amended  by  providing  for  the  ap¬ 
pointment  of  fifteen  circuit  judges  and  other  judges  as  well, 
and  in  the  expiring  hours  of  his  administration  Adams  had 
appointed  many  of  these  judges,  known  as  “midnight 
judges.”  Among  them  was  William  H.  Hill,  formerly 
district  attorney,  and  later  a  member  of  Congress  from  the 
Wilmington  district  and  one  of  the  best  educated  and  most 
influential  of  the  Federal  leaders  of  the  State.  This  act  was 
now  to  be  repealed.  But  before  its  repeal,  under  its  re¬ 
quirements,  President  Jefferson  appointed  Dominie  A.  Hall 


Dodd:  Life 
of  Macon, 
178,  179 


1 8  2 

Acts  1792, 
ch.  1 

Court  at 

At  Raleigh 

of  South  Carolina  to  be  the  presiding  judge  of  the  circuit 
court  of  the  Fifth  District,  that  included  North  Carolina, 
and  Hall  exhibited  his  commission  at  the  district  court  at 
Raleigh.  When  the  act  was  repealed  Hall  was  appointed 
to  be  judge  of  the  district  court  of  Louisiana. 

North  Carolina  in  1790  had  been  constituted  “a  district,” 
and  the  circuit  and  district  courts  were  to  be  held  at  New 
Bern,  Judge  Sitgreaves  being  the  district  judge.  The  dis¬ 
trict  courts  were  to  be  held  at  New  Bern,  Wilmington  and 
Edenton.  At  the  November  term  of  1792  the  circuit  court 
was  not  held. 

Under  the  peculiar  situation  in  1802,  President  Jefferson 
in  May  appointed  Henry  Potter  district  judge;  and  on  the 
same  day  appointed  Edward  Harris  of  North  Carolina 
judge  of  the  circuit  court,  and  in  June  they  held  the  last 
circuit  court  under  the  Adams  system  in  the  State.  On 
July  1  the  whole  system  fell.  The  law  under  which  the 
circuit  court  judges  were  appointed  being  repealed,  they 
all  were  legislated  out;  but  Henry  Potter,  having  been  ap¬ 
pointed  to  the  district  court  in  the  place  of  Judge  Sitgreaves 
who  had  died,  continued  as  district  judge.  In  June,  1793, 
Judge  Patterson  attended  at  New  Bern  and  the  circuit  court 
was  held  there,  the  last;  for  by  act  of  March  3,  1793,  the 
circuit  court  was  “to  be  held  at  Wake  courthouse  until 
some  convenient  accommodation  can  be  had  in  the  city  of 
Raleigh,”  so  on  November  30,  1793,  the  court  was  held  in 
the  courtroom  of  Wake  courthouse,  described  “as  a  log 
building  on  the  hillside  in  front”  of  the  Boylan  homestead 
in  Bloomsbury.  The  circuit  court  continued  to  meet  in 
Bloomsbury  until  June  1,  1797,  when  it  was  opened  by 
Judge  Sitgreaves  in  the  courthouse  in  the  city  of  Raleigh. 
However,  Judge  Samuel  Chase  of  Maryland,  who  had  been 
appointed  the  year  before,  did  not  attend,  and  no  court  was 
held;  but  in  November,  1797,  Judge  James  Wilson  did  at¬ 
tend  and  the  first  circuit  court  was  held  in  the  courthouse  at 
Raleigh.  This  was  on  the  courthouse  lot  on  Fayetteville 


Street,  “of  wood,  rectangular,  of  the  shape  of  an  old- 
fashioned  meeting  house.”  It  was  used  until  1835. 

The  Assembly 

When  the  Assembly  met  it  was  Republican  to  the  core  and  1801 
the  same  officers  were  reelected. 

The  Assembly  was  pleased  with  the  result  of  the  act  re¬ 
quiring  the  judges  to  confer  on  undetermined  questions 
arising  on  the  circuit  which  had  had  a  beneficial  operation, 
and  as  it  was  about  to  expire,  the  act  was  now  extended  for 
three  years  longer,  and  the  Assembly  gave  the  court  the  Conference 
name  of  “The  Court  of  Conference.” 

There  was  at  this  session  a  notable  change  in  the  law  of 
inheritance,  again  favorable  to  the  women;  the  widow  was 
declared  the  heir  of  the  husband  who  had  no  relative  who 
might  claim  as  heir.  This  operated  to  prevent  escheat. 

The  agitation  against  the  Judiciary  Act  with  its  corps  of 
new  judges  had  been  pressed  so  vigorously  by  the  Republi¬ 
can  leaders,  that  the  Assembly  passed  a  resolution  instruct¬ 
ing  the  Senators  and  recommending  the  Representatives,  to 
vote  for  its  repeal ;  while  the  Alien  and  Sedition  Act  having 
been  limited  to  two  years  had  already  passed  away.  These 
instructions  presented  a  question  which  the  Federal  leaders  ch.  Justice 
unwisely  emphasized  into  an  issue  to  their  discomfiture.  Marsha11 
On  March  8,  1802,  Jefferson  had  the  pleasure  of  signing  the 
bill  repealing  the  new  Judiciary  Act  and  Ihe  old  system 
was  now  restored,  the  circuit  courts  being  held  by  a  jus¬ 
tice  of  the  Supreme  Court  and  the  district  judge.  The 
North  Carolina  circuit  was  selected  by  the  Chief  Justice, 

John  Marshall,  who  had  been  in  Adams’s  Cabinet  and  had 
been  transferred  from  the  Cabinet  to  the  court.  He  pre¬ 
sided  as  chief  justice  at  the  February  term,  1801,  of  the 
court,  but  continued  to  act  as  Secretary  of  State  until  March 
3,  1801.  He  had  been  a  participant  in  the  debates  in  the  Ernst's  Pe- 
Virginia  Convention  that  adopted  the  Constitution,  and  made  giniac°n- 

0  r  _  ’  vention,  394 

a  very  elaborate  exposition  of  the  provisions  of  the  proposed 





Winston : 
Hist,  of 
Hertford,  83 

constitution  concerning  the  judiciary.  His  view  was  that 
announced  by  Iredell;  Marshall’s  general  opinion  was  that 
the  Constitution  should  be  reasonably  interpreted,  having 
in  view  the  objects  for  which  it  was  adopted.  The  dis¬ 
position  of  some  Federalist  judges  to  go  to  an  extreme  limit 
had  already  been  curbed  by  the  eleventh  amendment ;  while, 
on  the  other  hand,  Federalist  anxiety  and  dread  of  the  pos¬ 
sible  action  of  the  Republicans  was  found  to  be  without 

The  Chief  Justice  held  the  circuit  courts  in  North  Caro¬ 
lina,  and  he  was  so  highly  esteemed  and  respected  that  the 
sharp  divergence  between  the  two  parties  largely  subsided. 
Party  spirit  was  allayed  and  the  masses  gave  their  confi¬ 
dence  to  the  administration.  In  particular  was  this  so  in 
North  Carolina  where  the  great  Chief  Justice  exerted 
a  beneficial  and  elevating  influence. 

During  the  early  part  of  1802  Charles  Johnson,  the  Rep¬ 
resentative  in  Congress  from  the  Chowan  district,  died,  and 
at  the  August  election  Gen.  Thomas  Wynne  of  Hertford 
was  elected  to  the  vacant  seat.  General  Wynne,  ‘‘able, 
wealthy  and  benevolent,”  had  for  ten  years  served  as  Sena¬ 
tor  from  Hertford  County,  and  had  been  a  Jefferson  elector 
and  was  a  staunch  Republican.  He  took  his  seat  December 
7,  1802. 

Stanly- Spaiglit  duel 

Governor  Spaight,  who  had  been  the  Senator  from 
Craven,  was  again  a  candidate  as  a  Republican.  During  the 
canvass  John  Stanly,  who  was  then  in  Congress,  took  the 
stump  to  defeat  Spaight,  although  Representatives  in  Con¬ 
gress  were  not  to  be  elected  that  year.  There  were  frequent 
discussions  between  these  great  leaders,  which  became  per¬ 
sonal  and  bitter.  Stanly  charged  Spaight  with  dodging, 
under  the  plea  of  ill  health,  when  the  Alien  and  Sedition 
Act  was  before  Congress.  Spaight  was  elected.  He  re¬ 
plied  to  Stanly's  charge  in  a  handbill  which  caused  Stanly 



to  send  a  challenge.  The  meeting  took  place  the  same  day, 
Sunday  afternoon,  on  the  outskirts  of  New  Bern,  September 
5,  1802.  On  the  fourth  fire  Governor  Spaight  was  mortally 
wounded  and  died  the  next  day.  Spaight  was  then  about 
50  years  of  age,  a  man  full  of  honors  and  usefulness ; 
Stanly  was  but  27.  Criminal  proceedings  were  instituted 
against  Stanly — but  he  made  such  representations  to  Gov¬ 
ernor  Williams  that  the  Governor  pardoned  him.  To  fill 
the  vacancy  caused  by  Spaight’s  death,  at  a  by-election, 
William  Blackledge  was  chosen  Senator. 

The  Legislature,  shocked  at  this  unfortunate  affair,  by 
which  the  State  was  deprived  of  one  of  its  most  esteemed 
citizens,  immediately  passed  an  act  making  “ineligible  to  any 
office  of  trust,  honor  or  profit,  any  one  sending,  accepting  or 
bearing  a  challenge,  and  he  shall  be  liable  to  be  indicted, 
despite  any  pardon  or  reprieve;  and  in  case  of  a  duel,  and 
either  party  is  killed,  the  survivor  shall  suffer  death  and  all 
aiding  and  abetting  shall  likewise  suffer  death.”  This  dras¬ 
tic  legislation  doubtless  had  some  effect,  but  still  in  time 
there  were  those  who  risked  life  on  the  field and  among 
them  were  three  other  Stanlvs. 

Negro  insurrections 

In  September,  1800,  there  had  been  a  well-prepared 
plan  for  an  insurrection  at  Richmond,  Virginia.  A  slave, 
Gabriel  Prosser,  calling  himself  “Bonaparte,”  was  at  its 
head.  Eleven  hundred  negroes  were  to  assemble  six  miles 
from  the  city,  and  being  arranged  in  three  bodies  were  to 
march  that  night  and  take  possession.  Success  was  to  be 
followed  bv  a  call  to  arms  of  all  negroes  on  the  continent. 
All  male  white  and  elderly  women  were  to  be  slaughtered, 
the  young  white  women  saved  for  wives.  The  plan  fell 
through,  and  Gabriel  was  captured  three  weeks  later  on 
board  a  vessel  down  the  James.  This  attempted  rising 
caused  much  apprehension  and  excitement.  Perhaps  the 
ne^ro  insurrection  in  San  Domingo  may  have  had  some  in- 

Duels  made 


1 86 

Mon.,  XIV, 
83,  84 

Raleigh  ad¬ 

Moore,  II, 



fluence  on  the  minds  of  these  usually  amiable  and  submis¬ 
sive  slaves.  At  any  rate,  serious  combinations  were  dis¬ 
covered  among  them  in  Hertford  and  Washington  counties, 
and  there  were  many  rumors  of  negro  risings  throughout 
the  northeastern  counties  which  often  created  a  wild  panic. 

An  actual  rising  in  June,  1802,  caused  great  alarm. 
Frank  Sumners  was  at  the  head  of  it.  This  discovery 
created  apprehensions  from  Tar  River  to  the  Atlantic.  Vol¬ 
unteer  companies  were  organized  for  patrolling  and  for 
arresting  suspected  persons.  At  one  time  100  men  were 
locked  up  in  Martin  County.  Similarly,  about  the  same 
time,  there  was  great  excitement  in  Franklin  County  and 
throughout  the  middle  section  of  the  State,  and  many  arrests 
were  made.  The  Legislature  in  consequence,  passed  a  law, 
looking  to  the  suppression  of  negro  insurrections ;  but  the 
period  of  unrest  apparently  passed  away  without  leaving 
any  deplorable  results  to  regret. 

Ineffectual  movements  for  education 

Governor  Williams  in  his  last  message  to  the  Assembly 
called  attention  to  both  internal  improvements  and  public 
education.  “Our  inland  navigation  and  the  still  greater 
importance  of  providing  thorough,  adequate  and  suitable 
means  for  a  general  diffusion  of  learning  throughout  the 
State  .  .  .  a  far  more  estimable  end  .  .  .  that  our 

posterity  will  be  enabled  at  all  times  and  on  all  occasions, 
duly  to  appreciate  and  properly  understand  and  defend 
their  natural,  civil  and  political  rights ;  in  Ane,  that  with  en¬ 
lightened  minds,  and  the  consequent  love  of  freedom,  they 
will  never  cease  to  be  free.”  This  was  the  Arst  suggestion 
of  general  education,  but  the  suggestion  fell  on  unaccus¬ 
tomed  ears  and  it  was  then  not  heeded. 

In  August,  1802,  General  Joseph  Graham,  one  of  the  he¬ 
roes  of  the  Revolution,  proposed  an  elaborate  plan  for  a 
military  academy,  the  State  to  make  provision  for  the  sup¬ 
port  of  the  students,  one  student  being  allowed  for  each  of 



the  80  militia  regiments  of  the  State.  The  course  of  in¬ 
struction  was  to  be  such  as  to  fit  the  students  to  be  officers 
of  the  militia.  Nor  was  this  proposition  acted  on  by  the 
Assembly.  Had  the  plan  been  adopted,  it  doubtless  would 
have  been  highly  beneficial  in  its  efifects. 

Death  of  Colonel  Ashe 

This  being  the  close  of  Governor  Williams’s  term,  Col. 
John  B.  Ashe  was  elected  his  successor,  but  when  the  Com¬ 
mittee  waited  on  him  at  his  residence  at  Halifax,  he  was 
found  to  be  ill ;  and  in  a  few  days,  he  died,  at  the  age  of 
54,  much  lamented.  He  had  been  one  of  the  best  officers  of 
the  Continental  army  and,  later,  was  leader  in  the  Conti¬ 
nental  Congress.  Senator  James  Turner  of  Warren  was 
then  elected  Governor,  taking  his  seat  on  the  first  day  of 

The  Tuscarora  lands 

The  Tuscarora  Indians  had  been  given  a  reservation 
on  the  Roanoke  River  in  1715,  when  a  large  number  of  them 
moved  to  New  York,  their  original  region,  becoming  the 
sixth  nation  there.  In  1766,  they  had  leased  for  fifty  years 
a  part  of  their  land  in  Bertie  County  to  Robert  Jones,  the 
father  of  Willie  Jones;  and  now  the  remaining  Indians 
wished  to  lease  or  dispose  of  the  rest  of  their  land  and  go 
north.  The  agent  of  the  State  arranged  for  such  a  lease, 
and  the  Assembly  ratified  the  agreement,  one  of  the  condi¬ 
tions  being  that  the  lease  was  to  expire  in  1816,  along  with 
the  first  one ;  and  then  the  entire  reservation  was  to  become 
the  property  of  the  State.  As  this  arrangement  had  to  be  in 
the  way  of  a  treaty  with  the  tribe,  which  could  be  made  only 
bv  the  general  government,  President  Jefferson  appointed 
Davie  a  commissioner  on  the  part  of  the  United  States,  and 
the  treaty  was  duly  executed  at  Raleigh,  December  4,  1802, 
and  submitted  to  the  United  States  Senate  February  13, 




1 88 

1803.  By  this  treaty  the  Tuscarora  tribe  of  Indians  ceased 
to  have  any  connection  with  North  Carolina. 

The  defeat  of  Federal  leaders 

At  the  election  of  August,  1803,  Congressmen  were  to  be 
chosen.  The  result  proved  the  bad  policy  of  the  Feder¬ 
alist  leaders  in  making  an  issue  with  the  Assemblymen  in 
the  matter  of  recommending  the  Representatives  to  vote 
for  the  repeal  of  the  Judiciary  Act.  The  Federal  Repre¬ 
sentatives  in  Congress  had  antagonized  the  Assembly,  and 
Archibald  Henderson,  Steele’s  brother-in-law,  made  a 
speech  voicing  the  determination  of  his  three  Federalist  as¬ 
sociates  to  ignore  the  recommendation  of  the  people’s  rep¬ 
resentatives  in  the  Legislature.  It  sounded  the  death  knell 
of  those  members.  The  result  in  its  effects  on  the  life  of 

Davie  de-  Davie  was  lamentable.  Two  years  earlier  he  had  declined 

f  G3/tG(i  •  . 

to  contest  the  seat  in  Congress  with  Willis  Alston ;  but  this 
year,  Mr.  Jacocks,  a  Republican,  was  in  the  field  against 
Alston ;  and  there  seemed  to  be  no  doubt  that  Davie,  polling 
all  of  the  Federalist  strength,  could  come  in  between  them. 
He  yielded  to  the  solicitations  of  his  friends  and  announced 
himself.  Mr.  Macon,  now  the  Speaker  of  the  House,  and 
close  to  the  President,  and  at  the  head  of  the  party  in  the 
State,  at  once  interfered.  He  succeeded  in  influencing  Mr. 
Jacocks  to  withdraw.  Davie  made  no  speeches,  but  the 
campaign  against  him  took  a  personal  cast,  and  according 
to  tradition,  which,  however,  cannot  always  be  relied  on, 
his  aristocratic  bearing  was  dwelt  on  to  his  prejudice. 

Willis  Alston  himself  was  a  gentleman  and  a  man  of  such 
intellectual  force  that  some  years  later  he  was  the  chairman 
of  the  very  important  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means  in  the 
House  of  Representatives. 

Davie  fell  a  sacrifice  to  his  party.  He  keenly  felt  the 
blow.  Iredell,  Judge  Sitgreaves,  Allen  Jones,  Willie  Jones 
and  John  B.  Ashe  had  died,  and  Judge  Samuel  Johnston  had 
retired  from  the  bench  and  the  Federalists  were  exiled  from 



public  places  of  honor;  and  Davie  was  bereft  of  his  wife, 
leaving  him  with  a  number  of  young  children  to  care  for. 
Two  years  later,  having  arranged  his  North  Carolina  busi¬ 
ness,  he  retired  to  his  plantation,  Tivoli,  on  the  Catawba 
in  South  Carolina,  but  he  continued  to  correspond  with  his 
North  Carolina  friends  and  he  put  his  daughter  in  school 
at  Salem  and  his  sons  were  educated  at  the  University,  of 
which  he  was  more  largely  than  any  one  else,  the  founder, 
and  where  his  name  and  fame  are  perpetuated. 

North  Carolinians  preside  in  Congress 

Macon  had  served  so  acceptably  as  Speaker  that  at  the 
meeting  of  the  Congress  in  October,  1803,  he  was  reelected; 
while  in  the  Senate  on  March  10,  1804,  Jesse  Franklin  had 
become  so  highly  esteemed  that  he  was  chosen  president 
pro  tern,  of  that  body,  to  preside  whenever  the  Vice-Presi¬ 
dent  was  absent,  and  for  a  year  these  highest  posts  of  honor 
in  the  two  bodies  were  held  by  these  North  Carolinians. 

The  House  not  favorable  to  education 

When  the  Assembly  met  Governor  Turner  followed  the 
example  of  his  predecessor,  declaring:  “Too  much  atten¬ 
tion  cannot  be  paid  to  the  education  of  youth,  by  pro¬ 
moting  the  establishment  of  schools  in  every  part  of  the 
State.”  The  subject  was  interesting  to  others,  Christopher 
Dudley,  the  Senator  from  Onslow,  introduced  a  bill  pro¬ 
viding  for  a  seminary  of  learning  in  each  district  and  ap¬ 
propriating  for  their  use  one-half  of  all  moneys  arising  from 
escheats  in  that  district.  This  bill  passed  the  Senate  but 
failed  in  the  House.  Then  Senator  O’Farrell  introduced  a 
bill  to  establish  a  uniform  and  general  system  of  education 
throughout  the  State,  but  while  the  bill  required  that  acad¬ 
emies  should  be  established  in  each  county,  the  only  source 
of  funds  mentioned  was  donations.  This  also  failed  in  the 

Davie  moves 
to  South 






There  was  always  a  chance  for  some  divergence  between 
the  Senators  and  the  Representatives  in  the  House  of  Com¬ 
mons  although  both  were  to  be  freeholders.  The  Senators 
were  elected  only  by  freeholders ;  while  for  members  of  the 
House  any  freeman  who  had  paid  his  taxes  could  vote. 
The  electorate  for  the  latter  was  therefore  different  and  was 
virtually  based  on  manhood  suffrage.  Even  free  negroes 
could  vote.  Senators  had  to  own  three  hundred  acres  of 
land,  while  the  qualification  of  a  member  of  the  House 
was  only  fifty  acres.  The  Senate  therefore  might  well  have 
been  the  more  conservative  body;  but  in  the  matter  of  pub¬ 
lic  education  it  was  the  House  that  rejected  the  proposed 
measures.  Evidently  the  less-  enlightened  people  consti¬ 
tuted  the  opposition,  and  it  was  so  likewise  as  to  other 
measures  proposing  improvements. 

It  was  the  duty  of  the  Legislature  to  appoint  electors, 
and  following  the  North  Carolina  practice,  it  passed  an  act 
providing  for  their  election  by  districts. 

The  purchase  of  Louisiana 

The  year  1803  was  marked  by  an  event  of  great  impor¬ 
tance.  Spain  held  Florida  from  the  Georgia  line  to  the 
Mississippi  just  below  Natchez  and  also  Louisiana,  extend¬ 
ing  from  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  northward  to  Red  River,  then 
west  to  1  ooth  degree  of  longitude,  then  north  to  the  British 
dominions.  Save  a  few  scattered  settlements  this  vast  terri¬ 
tory  was  unoccupied  and  unexplored.  Jefferson,  without 
the  sanction  of  Congress  and,  in  his  own  opinion,  without 
constitutional  warrant,  purchased  this  wilderness  for  the 
United  States.  Spain  had  conveyed  Louisiana  to  France, 
the  actual  possession  passing  at  New  Orleans  November 
30,  1803.  On  Jefferson’s  purchase,  the  actual  possession 
was  delivered  by  France  at  New  Orleans  on  December  20, 
1803,  France  holding  the  actual  possession  less  than  a 
month.  The  delivery  was  to  William  Claiborne  and  Wil- 



liatn  Wilkinson  “in  the  name  of  the  Congress  of  the 
United  States.” 

The  Federalists  of  New  England  were  alarmed,  con¬ 
ceiving  that  there  would  be  created  states  toward  the  south 
that  would  endanger  their  welfare  in  the  Union.  Some  of 
them  formed  the  project  of  dissolving  the  Union  and  form¬ 
ing  a  northern  confederacy.  They  claimed  that  the  interests 
of  the  northern  states  required  a  northern  confederacy. 
This  project  was  extensively  discussed  by  the  members  of 
Congress  from  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut  and  a  meet¬ 
ing  was  arranged  to  be  held  at  Boston  in  the  autumn  of 
1804.  But  better  counsels  prevailed  and  New  England  ac¬ 
quiesced  in  this  purchase.  The  settlers  in  Kentucky  and 
Tennessee  and  along  the  Ohio  had  free  a-ccess  to  the  Mis¬ 
sissippi  River  and  an  outlet  to  the  markets  of  the  world 
through  New  Orleans;  and  the  purchase  provided  the  means 
of  indefinite  expansion  to  the  westward  free  from  any  in¬ 
terference  by  foreign  powers.  In  this  view,  the  acquisi¬ 
tion  of  that  vast  territory  was  the  most  important  event  in 
the  history  of  the  country  except  the  Declaration  of  Inde¬ 
pendence  and  the  formation  of  the  Union.  It  had  its  polit¬ 
ical  effect  in  strengthening  Jefferson  in  the  esteem  of  the 
masses ;  but  the  Federalist  leaders  did  not  abate  their  an¬ 

Robert  Williams  of  Rockingham  County  was  now  charged 
with  the  responsible  duties  of  a  commissioner  to  ascertain 
the  rights  of  persons  claiming  land  in  the  Mississippi  Ter¬ 
ritory;  and  in  1805  he  became  Governor  of  that  territory, 
administering  its  affairs  for  four  years.  Later  he  settled 
at  Monroe,  Louisiana. 

With  the  opening  of  this  western  territory,  there  began 
a  movement  of  population  from  North  Carolina  to  the  west 
and  northwest,  at  first  hardly  observable  but  gradually  in¬ 
creasing  in  volume  until  it  reached  its  culmination  in  the 
decade  ending  1840  when  the  whites  did  not  increase  three 
per  cent  and  the  quarter  of  a  million  of  blacks  showed  no 
increase  at  all. 

A  northern 



Papers  Am. 
Hist.  Assn., 
I,  252 

Cooley:  In. 
Hist.  Soc. 
Pam.,  No.  3 

Effect  on 




Turner's  Administration 

Jefferson  again  elected. — Macon’s  influence. — Fears  propa¬ 
ganda  against  slavery. — Does  not  favor  public  schools. — Turner’s 
efforts  in  vain. — Cotton  and  negroes. — Result  of  cotton  gin. — 
Cotton  mills. — South  Carolina  reopens  slave  trade. — Severely 
reprobated  in  North  Carolina. — Proposes  a  constitutional  amend¬ 
ment.- — The  problems. —  “Persons  of  color.” — The  State  Repub¬ 
lican.- — Stokes  elected  Senator. — Declines. — Only  one  Senator. — 
The  Supreme  Court. — The  Granville  Claim. — Progressive  meas¬ 
ures. — The  currency. — The  Bank  of  the  United  States. — The  only 
specie  foreign  coins. — Bank  of  Cape  Fear  at  Wilmington  and 
Bank  of  New  Bern. — The  State  Bank. — Records  may  be  kept  in 
United  States  currency. — Absence  of  transportation  facilities. — 
The  east  dominates. — A  convention  voted  down. — Turner  Sen¬ 
ator. — Alexander  Governor. — Superior  courts  held  in  each 
county. — Franklin  Senator. — Stone  and  Lowrie  judges. — Women 
allowed  benefit  of  clergy. 

The  election 

At  the  presidential  election  Connecticut  and  Delaware 
alone  voted  solidly  against  Jefferson.  In  Maryland  he  lost 
two  votes ;  every  other  electoral  vote  was  cast  for  him  and 
George  Clinton  of  New  York,  who  was  a  near  kinsman  of 
the  North  Carolina  Clintons  of  Sampson  County.  By  the 
casting  vote  of  Speaker  Macon  a  constitutional  amendment 
had  been  submitted  to  the  states,  which  they  adopted,  requir¬ 
ing  the  electors  to  vote  for  the  President  distinct  from  the 
Vice-President,  so  although  each  Jefferson  and  Clinton  re¬ 
ceived  162  votes  a  contest  like  that  between  Jefferson  and 
Burr  did  not  arise. 

Macon’s  influence 

The  cry  of  “party”  in  North  Carolina  as  elsewhere  was 
now  largely  hushed.  The  field  was  clear  for  the  wise  and 
progressive  men  of  the  State  to  improve  conditions.  But 
unhappily  the  leaders  were  much  in  love  with  Macon,  who 
was  even  less  inclined  to  progress  than  Willie  Jones  had 
been.  The  fundamental  basis  of  Macon’s  political  creed 



seems  to  have  been  that  the  function  of  government  was 
simply  to  afford  protection  to  individual  rights,  leaving  other 
matters  to  the  people  themselves.  In  his  view  it  was  not  for 
the  State  to  engage  in  works  of  internal  improvement  or 
to  educate  the  people,  but  merely  to  maintain  an  economical, 
honest,  efficient  government.  In  Congress  he  was,  first, 
for  observing  the  limitations  of  the  Constitution;  then  for 
economy ;  and  as  he  had  seen  many  appropriations  for  im¬ 
proved  facilities  wasted,  the  projects  proving  abortive,  he 
held  that  if  anything  was  worth  doing,  individuals  and  pri¬ 
vate  capital  would  be  found  to  do  it. 

In  particular,  he  early  realized  that  the  propaganda 
against  African  slavery  was  a  menace.  As  to  that  he  was 
seer  and  prophet.  It  may  be  said  that  he  did  his  own 
thinking  and,  though  not  a  disorganize^  he  never  suppressed 
his  intelligence  while  according  to  others  the  right  to  follow 
their  own  judgment.  Although  his  career  in  Congress  re¬ 
flected  honor  on  the  State  it  was  unfortunate  that  his  states¬ 
manship  as  to  community  matters  was  not  broader,  having 
for  its  object  to  elevate  the  masses  and  improve  social  con¬ 
ditions.  On  the  other  hand,  his  proudest  boast  was  that 
“there  was  no  state  in  the  Union  more  attached  to  law  and 
order  than  North  Carolina.” 


Despite  the  efforts  made  to  maintain  academies  and  pri¬ 
vate  schools,  the  mass  of  the  people  was  growing  up  illit¬ 
erate,  and  Macon  held  that  it  was  not  a  function  of  govern¬ 
ment  to  provide  educational  facilities.  He  was  not  alone, 
for  in  the  Assembly  were  many  of  the  first  men  of  the  State 
and  their  nonaction  was  in  line  with  his  views. 

In  vain  had  Governor  Turner  emphasized  the  recom¬ 
mendation  of  Governor  Williams,  in  vain  had  he  called  on 
the  Assembly  to  provide  “that  the  children  of  the  poorest 
citizens  might  have  access,  at  least,  to  necessary  instruction.” 

And,  in  his  last  message,  in  1805,  he  said:  “It  is  evident 



that  the  situation  in  our  State  calls  for  legislative  aid” ; 
but  his  voice  fell  on  unresponsive  ears ;  and  so  it  continued, 
each  successive  Governor,  at  every  session,  pressed  the  sub¬ 
ject,  but  without  avail. 

I.  532 

South  Caro¬ 
lina  reopens 
the  slave 


Cotton  and  negroes 

The  introduction  of  the  gin  had  already  given  an  impetus 
to  the  cultivation  of  cotton,  which,  however,  was  much 
more  observable  in  South  Carolina  and  Georgia  than  in 
North  Carolina.  Indeed  North  Carolina  was  not  much 
affected  by  it.  In  1792  the  entire  cotton  crop  of  the  South 
was  only  138,328  pounds,  ten  years  later  it  had  risen  to 
27,500,000  pounds,  and  in  1805  to  40,330,000  pounds;  but 
North  Carolina’s  crop  was  only  one-tenth  of  that  quantity. 
The  price  was  highly  remunerative,  being  about  30  cents, 
and  in  1798  as  much  as  40  cents,  but  after  that  high  water 
mark  there  was  a  recession. 

In  England  there  had  long  been  some  cotton  mills, 
and  about  1790  some  were  erected  in  Massachusetts;  but 
these  were  not  similar  to  the  mills  later  built.  Machinery 
was  for  carding  and  spinning  only.  The  looms  were  like 
those  in  the  homes  of  the  people,  hand  looms ;  and  it  was 
not  until  1816  that  the  power  looms  were  introduced. 

Nevertheless  while  only  hand  looms  were  in  use  the  de¬ 
mand  for  cotton  was  now  so  constant  that  its  culture  went 
forward  with  leaps  and  bounds ;  and  under  its  stimulus, 
South  Carolina  in  1803  repealed  the  prohibition  that  State,  in 
common  with  all  other  states,  had  enacted  against  the 
importation  of  negroes. 

In  Charleston,  it  is  narrated  that  every  one  invested  every 
dollar  he  could  command  in  imported  negroes,  and  nothing 
else  was  bought.  Although  the  slave  trade  was  not  open 
longer  than  four  years,  there  must  have  been  brought  into 
Charleston  forty  thousand  negroes.  In  1800  Georgia  and 
South  Carolina  had  but  205,000,  and  ten  years  later  they 
had  301,000,  at  least  forty  thousand  more  than  the  natural 



increase.  This  opening  of  the  slave  trade  was  severely 
reprobated  in  North  Carolina.  When  the  Assembly  met  in 
November,  1804,  Senator  William  P.  Little  of  Warren  in¬ 
troduced  a  resolution  instructing  the  North  Carolina  Sena¬ 
tors  and  Representatives  in  Congress  to  propose  an  amend¬ 
ment  to  the  Constitution  prohibiting  the  slave  trade.  Gen. 
Benjamin  Smith  from  the  committee  to  whom  the  resolution 
was  referred  reported  it  back  favorably ;  and  it  was  adopted ; 
and  it  was  ordered  to  be  communicated  to  the  executive  of 
every  state. 

North  Carolina  at  that  time  was  not  indifferent  to  the 
negro  question  in  the  various  shapes  in  which  the  subject 
of  the  African  race  was  presented;  one-third  of  the  popula¬ 
tion  were  negroes,  and  the  country  was  but  sparsely  set¬ 
tled.  There  were  influences  exerted  for  emancipation,  but 
it  was  not  desirable  that  the  number  of  free  negroes  should 
be  increased  while  the  agitation  for  emancipation  unsettled 
the  negroes  held  in  slavery  and  led  to  apprehensions.  And 
this  is  to  be  observed  that  in  all  the  references  to  negroes 
at  that  period  they  were  not  mentioned  as  Africans  or  as 
negroes,  but  as  “persons  of  color” ;  such  was  the  usual  des¬ 
ignation  in  all  the  laws  for  many  years.  And  as  “persons  of 
color,”  when  free,  they  were  “freemen”  and  were  allowed 
to  vote.  At  the  session  of  1804  there  was  a  proposition 
that  passed  the  Senate,  to  prohibit  free  negroes  from  voting. 
It,  however,  failed  to  pass  the  House.  A  proposition  of  a 
different  tenor  prohibiting  slaves  from  hiring  their  own 
time  was  adopted,  while  the  strong  declaration  against  the 
slave  trade  indicates  the  attitude  of  the  State  as  unfavor¬ 
able  to  the  unnecessary  extension  of  slavery.  The  situation, 
even  in  those  years,  was  difficult  and  embarrassing. 

North  Caro¬ 
lina  protests 

Persons  of 

The  State  with  Jefferson 

The  Assembly  was  thoroughly  Republican.  The  former 
officers  were  reelected,  including  Governor  Turner;  and  a 
resolution  receiving  in  the  Senate,  where  Federalism  was 







always  stronger  than  in  the  House,  32  votes  to  only  8  in 
the  negative,  was  adopted,  expressing  the  highest  confi¬ 
dence  in  the  administration  and  applauding  the  purchase  of 
Louisiana.  Indeed,  at  the  election  of  presidential  electors 
every  district  was  for  Jefferson. 

Senator  Franklin’s  term  was  now  expiring,  and  he  de 
dined  to  be  a  candidate  for  reelection.  Speaker  Cabarrus 
and  Gen.  Benjamin  Smith  both  declined  to  be  candidates. 
After  several  ballots,  Gen.  Montfort  Stokes  was  elected 
Senator.  But  he  did  not  desire  the  appointment  and  de¬ 
clined  it.  However,  the  Assembly  was  not  advised  of  his 
declination  before  it  adjourned;  and  during  the  year  there 
was  but  one  Senator  from  the  State,  Judge  Stone. 

The  Supreme  Court 

At  this  session  of  the  Assembly  the  Court  of  Conference 
was  retained  as  a  permanent  court  of  record,  and  the  judges 
were  required  to  reduce  their  opinions  to  writing  and  to 
deliver  them  in  open  court ;  and  it  was  provided  that  a  single 
judge  could  hold  a  Superior  Court. 

The  next  year  the  name  of  the  court  was  changed  to 
“The  Supreme  Court,”  and  the  desire  of  Governor  Sam 
Johnston  was  on  the  eve  of  accomplishment. 

The  Granville  claim 

In  1804  there  had  been  instituted  in  the  circuit  court  of  the 
LTnlted  States,  at  Raleigh,  a  suit  of  great  magnitude.  It  was 
brought  by  the  heirs  of  Earl  Granville  against  Josiah  Collins 
and  Nathan  Allen,  and  a  similar  suit  against  William  R. 
Davie.  The  basis  of  the  action  was  the  claim  set  up  under 
Granville’s  title  to  the  upper  part  of  the  State  and  extending 
to  the  Mississippi  River — all  the  land  which  in  Colonial  days 
had  been  held  by  Granville  and  which  he  had  not  granted  to 
settlers.  Linder  the  terms  of  the  Treaty  of  Peace  it  would 
seem  that  the  Granville  right  and  title  had  been  preserved. 
But  the  State  contended  that  by  its  Constitution,  declaring 


1 97 

the  boundaries  and  limits  of  the  State  and  asserting  the  sov¬ 
ereignty  of  the  State  therein,  it  ha*d  put  an  end  to  all  the 
rights  of  the  Crown  in  that  domain,  and  of  the  Granville 
right  likewise.  In  its  scope  this  case  was  doubtless  the  most 
important  ever  before  a  court  in  the  State,  and  it  excited 
a  great  deal  of  public  interest.  Mr.  John  London  of  Wil¬ 
mington  was  the  agent  of  the  Earl  of  Coventry,  successor 
by  devise  to  Earl  Granville.  He  employed  William  Gaston 
and  Edward  Harris  for  the  plaintiff.  The  defendants  were 
represented  by  Judge  Duncan  Cameron,  M.  Woodsford, 
Blake  Baker.  The  title  of  the  case  was  “Doe  on  the  demise 
of  George  William  Coventry  and  others  against  Josiah 
Collins  and  Nathaniel  Allen;  ejectment.”  The  plea  of  the 
defendants  was  “common  rule,”  “not  guilty.”  On  June  18, 
1804,  Chief  Justice  Marshall  and  Henry  Potter  sitting,  a 
jury  was  empaneled,  one  of  the  jurors  being  Joseph  Gales. 
Evidence  was  introduced,  and  a  demurrer  to  evidence  be¬ 
ing  tendered  and  joined,  the  jury  was  thereupon  discharged. 
At  the  December  term,  it  was  moved  on  behalf  of  the  de¬ 
fendants  that  the  demurrer  to  evidence  be  discharged.  This 
motion  being  opposed  by  plaintiff’s  counsel,  on  argument  it 
was  ordered :  “The  court  will  consider  further  thereon  till 
next  term  of  court.”  At  the  next  term,  when  the  case 
was  reached,  the  entry  is :  “The  motion  made  in  this  cause 
at  the  last  term  to  discharge  the  demurrer  to  evidence  being 
further  argued,  it  was  ordered  by  his  Honor,  Judge  Potter, 
who  filed  a  long  and  elaborate  opinion,  (his  Honor  the  Chief 
Justice  utterly  declining  to  give  any  opinion  thereon)  that 
the  said  demurrer  be  discharged,  and  that  a  jury  be  again 
empaneled  to  try  the  issue  of  fact  joined  between  the 
plaintiff  and  defendant  in  this  cause.  To  which  said  opin¬ 
ion  and  order,  counsel  for  the  plaintiff  in  behalf  of  the  said 
plaintiff  did  then  and  there  in  open  court  except.  .  .  . 

The  jury  find  the  defendant  not  guilty  of  the  trespass  and 
ejectment  stated  in  plaintiff’s  declaration.  Bill  of  excep¬ 
tions  filed  and  ordered  to  be  made  part  of  the  record.”  The 

H.  G. 

Connor  in 
Univ.  Pa. 
Law  Review, 
Oct.,  1914 



case  went  by  appeal  to  the  Supreme  Court  of  United  States, 
but  was  not  prosecuted ;  and  some  years  later  was  dropped. 
Such  was  the  termination  of  this  important  litigation. 

Before  the  session  of  1804  had  closed  academies  were  in¬ 
measures1™  corporated  for  Greene  County,  in  Moore,  at  Hyco,  and 
Smithville  and  steps  were  taken  to  open  Fishing  Creek,  to 
cut  a  navigable  canal  through  the  Dismal  Swamp  from 
Camden  to  Gates,  to  improve  the  Yadkin,  Little  River  and 
Ocracoke  Inlet,  and  for  cutting  navigable  canals  from  the 
Roanoke  to  the  Meherrin  and  from  Bennetts  Creek  to  the 

The  Bank 
of  U.  S. 

The  currency 

Prior  to  the  introduction  of  banks  the  ordinary  currency 
had  been  foreign  silver  pieces,  particularly  the  coins  struck 
off  by  Spain  and  its  dependencies.  The  United  States  coin¬ 
age  laws  authorized  the  mint  to  strike  off  both  silver  and 
gold  coins ;  but  no  silver  had  been  found  in  this  country  and 
only  a  little  gold,  while  the  disturbed  condition  of  com¬ 
merce  incident  to  the  European  war  had  resulted  in  cutting 
off  our  supply  of  silver.  Indeed,  the  world’s  supply  of 
silver  had  become  so  limited  that  that  metal  was  scarce 
and  had  appreciated  more  than  three  per  cent,  with  the  effect 
of  leading  to  the  exportation  of  our  silver  dollars,  and  re¬ 
ducing  our  circulation.  To  stop  this,  the  coinage  of  the 
dollar  piece  was  forbidden,  and  only  fractional  currency  was 
in  use.  To  meet  the  conditions  paper  money  had  to  be  re¬ 
sorted  to. 

A  bank  had  been  established  by  Congress,  the  Bank  of 
the  United  States,  that  was  allowed  to  open  offices  in  the 
several  states  to  handle  the  government  collections ;  but  no 
trace  of  its  usefulness  is  preserved  so  far  as  North  Caro¬ 
lina  is  concerned.  A  community  without  banking  facilities 
would  now  be  in  a  deplorable  plight,  and  at  this  period  to 
transact  financial  business  the  State  had  to  rely  on  the  facil¬ 
ities  offered  by  the  merchants,  particularly  those  of  the 



seaports.  The  currency  of  account  was  pounds  and  shil-  • 
lings,  while  the  currency  of  the  United  States  was  dollars 
and  cents ;  and  there  being  virtually  no  United  States  coin 
in  the  marts  of  commerce,  foreign  coins  were  the  only  specie 
in  use.  But  in  1804  the  Legislature  manifested  a  com¬ 
mendable  spirit  of  progress  or  rather  reflected  the  spirit 
that  was  beginning  to  pervade  the  people.  Reciting  that  the 
commerce  of  Wilmington  and  Fayetteville  needed  banking 
facilities,  the  Bank  of  Cape  Fear  was  incorporated  to  be 
opened  at  Wilmington  with  a  branch  at  Fayetteville  and 
with  a  provision  that  the  State  could  subscribe  for  250 
shares  of  the  stock;  and  another  act  incorporated  the  New 
Bern  Marine  Insurance  Company  and  also  the  New  Bern 
Bank.  These  banks  were  allowed  to  issue  their  own  notes 
as  currency,  not  in  excess  of  three  times  their  capital,  and 
otherwise  limited.  This  was  one  of  the  first  movements 
looking  to  the  association  of  capital  in  community  opera¬ 
tions.  It  betokened  growth,  development,  a  breaking  away 
from  the  past,  new  things  in  the  life  of  the  communities; 
and  the  next  year  the  Legislature  chartered  the  State  Bank 
of  North  Carolina,  which  it  was  hoped  would  absorb  the 
other  banks.  But  at  the  following  session  the  charter  of 
the  State  Bank  was  repealed :  yet  only  to  be  reformed  and 
revived  at  the  session  of  1810.  By  that  act,  the  mother 
bank  was  to  be  at  Raleigh,  with  members  at  Edenton,  New 
Bern,  Wilmington,  Fayetteville,  Tarboro  and  Salisbury.  The 
State  was  to  take  $250,000  of  stock;  and  notes  could  be 
issued  not  in  excess  of  $4,8op,ooo  over  deposits.  No  other 
bank  was  to  be  established ;  and  it  was  hoped  that  this  new 
institution  would  absorb  the  banks  of  Cape  Fear  and  of 
New  Bern.  It  was  modeled  somewhat  after  the  Scotch 
banks,  but  was  not  particularly  authorized  to  pay  interest 
on  deposits,  which  was  one  of  the  peculiarities  of  the  Scotch 
banks.  The  advantage  to  the  people  and  to  the  State  of 
these  new  financial  institutions  was  immense.  There  was 
now  some  hope  of  substantial  improvement. 

The  curren¬ 

State  banks 





and  cents 

In  1809  it  was  found  convenient  for  accounts  and  records 
to  be  kept  in  dollars  and  cents,  instead  of  pounds  and  shil¬ 
lings  ;  and  the  Legislature  enacted  that  “hereafter  the  cur¬ 
rency  of  the  United  States  shall  be  recognized  as  the  lawful 
currency  of  this  State,  and  it  may  be  lawful  for  the  records 
to  be  kept  in  dollars  and  cents,”  but  it  was  not  obligatory. 
However,  this  step  tended  to  eliminate  one  of  the  subsist¬ 
ing  differences  between  North  Carolina  and  the  United 
States ;  the  people  were  getting  to  have  the  same  unit  of 
value  and  to  think  in  dollars  and  cents. 


Conv.  Jour¬ 
nal,  87 

The  east  opposed  to  progress 

Among  the  palpable  and  potent  drawbacks  to  progress  in 
the  State  was  the  absence  of  transportation  facilities.  The 
Legislature  had  sought  to  mitigate  this  evil  by  having  road 
laws,  by  providing  that  the  highways  should  be  kept  open, 
and  by  constant  legislation  in  regard  to  inland  navigation. 
At  the  session  of  December,  1805,  the  committee  to  whom 
was  referred  the  Governor’s  message  relating  to  “inland 
navigation,  public  roads  and  the  education  of  youth,”  re¬ 
ported  that  “they  are  of  the  opinion  that  although  the  situ¬ 
ation  of  the  State  requires  legislative  aid,  yet  for  the  want 
of  sufficient  funds,  an  interference  at  this  time  would  be  in¬ 
expedient,”  and  the  House  concurred  in  the  report. 

Thirty  years  later  in  the  State  Convention,  Wellborn, 
then  well  advanced  in  years,  attributed  the  indifference  of 
the  Assembly  to  internal  improvements  to  the  preponderat¬ 
ing  voice  of  the  east  in  the  legislative  halls.  He  said  that 
thirty  years  earlier  he  had  brought  the  subject  of  eastern 
control  before  the  Legislature,  but  without  avail.  They 
had  replied:  “Nature  has  supplied  us  with  the  means  of 
reaching  a  good  market  and  we  will  not  be  taxed  for  your 

The  key  to  the  situation  was  the  dominancy  of  the  east, 
and  that  was  secured  by  the  provisions  of  the  Constitution 
that  could  not  be  changed.  December,  1807,  Mr.  Terrell 



offered  a  resolution  that  it  is  expedient  to  provide  by  law 
for  calling  a  convention  to  revise  and  amend  the  Constitu¬ 
tion.  The  House  was  not  of  his  mind;  the  vote  was  only 
21  affirmative  and  99  in  the  negative.  The  effort  was 

During  Turner’s  administration  the  Legislature  passed 
an  act  requiring  the  Governor  to  reside  in  Raleigh  the  en¬ 
tire  year,  and  a  frame  house  was  erected  for  him  on  the 
southwest  corner  of  Fayetteville  and  Hargett  streets. 

Governor  Alexander 

At  the  session  of  1805,  there  being  a  vacancy  in  the  Sen¬ 
ate,  Governor  Turner  was  elected  to  fill  it;  and  Nathaniel 
Alexander  was  chosen  Governor,  and  “Alexander  Martin, 
LL.D.,”  was  elected  to  preside  over  the  Senate.  Governor 
Alexander  had  hardly  been  inaugurated  before  he  notified 
Speaker  Martin  that  he  was  unable  to  attend  to  his  duties  as 
Governor;  and  thereupon  the  Senate  elected  Joseph  Rid¬ 
dick  speaker  pro  tern.,  while  Speaker  Martin  discharged  the 
duties  of  Governor.  But  that  situation  did  not  long  con¬ 
tinue,  for  soon  Governor  Alexander  was  back  in  his  office. 

Superior  Courts  in  every  county 

The  year  1806  marked  a  particular  change  in  the  judicial 
system.  The  State  was  divided  into  six  circuits,  and  a 
Superior  Court  was  to  be  held  twice  a  year  in  each  county ; 
before  that  the  Superior  courts  had  been  held  in  districts 
composed  of  several  counties ;  and  it  was  burdensome  for 
the  suitors  to  attend  them.  Now,  one  judge  rode  a  cir¬ 
cuit,  and  courts  were  held  in  every  county.  That  required 
an  increase  of  two  judges.  Senator  Stone’s  term  as  Senator 
was  drawing  to  its  close  and  Jesse  Franklin,  who  had  two 
years  earlier  declined  to  be  a  candidate  to  succeed  himself, 
now  contested  Stone’s  reelection  and  again  became  a  Sena¬ 
tor.  Senator  Stone  and  David  Lowrie  were  elected  the  addi¬ 
tional  judges.  Stone  thereupon  resigned  from  the  Senate 





benefit  of 

5  N.  C. 
Reports,  112 

February  17,  1807,  and  took  his  seat  on  the  bench.  After 
that,  all  of  the  judges  being  members  of  the  Supreme  Court, 
there  might  have  been  six  in  attendance ;  but  any  two  consti¬ 
tuted  a  quorum  for  the  transaction  of  business. 

A  novel  question  now  came  before  the  courts.  Elizabeth 
Gray  was  convicted  of  grand  larceny,  and  there  was  a  doubt 
whether  a  woman  was  entitled  to  the  benefit  of  clergy.  The 
court  in  conference  held  that  there  was  no  reason  why  fe¬ 
males  should  not  be  equally  entitled  as  males ;  and  the  Leg¬ 
islature,  to  settle  the  matter,  passed  an  act  to  that  effect 
December,  1806;  but  in  the  same  enactment  it  was  provided 
that  persons  who  robbed  houses  in  the  daytime  should  be 
excluded  from  the  benefit. 


Steps  Toward  War 

Macon  loses  speakership. — Refuses  Cabinet  appointments. — 
Jefferson’s  measures  for  peace. — The  embargo. — The  Assembly 
invites  Jefferson  to  stand  for  a  third  term. — New  England 
against  the  embargo. — Stone  Governor. — Gaston. — The  Assembly 
sustains  the  administration. — Henderson  and  Wlright  judges. — 
Gaston  Speaker. — War  preparations. — Jacob  Henry  urges  reli¬ 
gious  tolerance. — Embargo  gives  place  to  nonintercourse. — 
Macon's  statesmanship. — Stone’s  message. — The  press. — Gates 
for  progress. — Seaton. — France  and  Great  Britain  seize  our  ships. 
— Smith  Governor. — At  Washington. — Hawkins  Governor. — 
Steele  Speaker. — Henry  Clay. — The  Federalists  for  England. — 
William  R.  King. — Electors  to  be  chosen  by  Assembly.— Public 
indignation. — Domestic  commerce. — 'Wilmington,  New  Bern. — • 
A  regiment  raised. — Polk  Colonel. — Physical  phenomena. — The 
Declaration  of  War. — Political  differences. — The  Republicans 
hold  the  Assembly — Stone  Senator. — Stay  law. — Steamboats. — 
Death  of  Mrs.  Alston. 


Mr.  Macon  had  had  a  distinguished  career  as  Speaker  of 
the  House.  He  had  been  a  strong  leader  for  states’  rights 
under  the  Constitution  and  for  the  Southern  interests  and 
for  suppressing  the  agitation  born  of  the  continuance  of 
slavery  at  the  South.  He  ever  had  an  independent  mind; 
and  likewise,  he  had  some  eccentricities. 

In  1802  Macon,  on  intimate  terms  with  the  President,  had 
advised  him  to  purchase  Florida.  Two  years  later,  the 
President  asked  for  an  appropriation  of  two  million 
dollars  to  make  the  purchase.  Randolph,  the  chairman  of 
the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means,  Macon’s  appointee  and 
Macon’s  friend,  would  not  cooperate.  The  President 
turned  to  Varnum  of  Massachusetts,  Macon’s  competitor  in 
the  House,  and  Varnum  got  it  for  him.  There  were  other 
causes  of  divergence.  At  length,  when  the  Congress  of 
1807  was  expiring,  the  Republicans  still  being  in  control, 
Macon  realized  that  he  would  not  be  again  chosen  Speaker. 
He  was  out  of  tune  with  those  who  had  looked  up  to  him 
from  the  floor  of  the  House  for  six  years.  To  avoid  being 


Dodd : 
Macon,  201 



Macon,  219 

Ibid.,  216 





present  when  the  Juggernaut  car  was  to  parade,  he  remained 
at  his  home  in  Warren,  until  Congress  had  been  in  session 
a  month  and  Varnum,  his  old  competitor,  had  grown  ac¬ 
customed  to  the  Speaker’s  chair,  and  even  then  it  was  some 
considerable  time  before  he  manifested  interest  in  the  de¬ 
bates.  While  he  was  Speaker  Virginia  and  North  Carolina 
had  a  dominating  influence  on  the  general  policies  of  the 
country — now  Massachusetts  ruled  the  House.  But  Macon 
was  of  such  consequence  that  the  President  had  no  wish  to 
ignore  him,  and  indeed  they  had  ever  had  much  in  common 
and  Jefferson  was  under  lasting  obligations  to  North  Caro¬ 
lina.  Twice  the  President  offered  him  a  seat  in  the  Cabinet; 
and  twice  he  put  aside  the  proffered  honor. 

All  Europe  was  at  war,  on  land  and  water.  New  Eng¬ 
land’s  ship-building  industries  had  become  extensive  and 
the  sails  of  her  vessels  whitened  every  sea.  Her  enter¬ 
prising  mariners  were  absorbing  the  carrying  trade  and 
giving  comfort  to  Britain’s  enemies.  Britain  claimed  the 
services  of  all  her  subjects  and  took  them  where  she  found 
them,  especially  her  seamen  on  board  American  vessels. 
Jefferson,  not  a  warrior,  but  of  the  closet  and,  desiring  to 
preserve  peace,  sought  to  induce  Britain  to  desist  by  peace¬ 
ful  measures.  An  act  was  passed  in  April,  1806,  prohib¬ 
iting  the  importation  of  British  goods;  however,  Jefferson, 
as  well,  proposed  measures  of  defense. 

At  first  Macon,  on  the  floor,  was  not  in  accord  with  the  ad¬ 
ministration,  but  later  when  an  embargo  was  proposed,  and 
an  army  was  to  be  raised,  he  fell  into  line.  By  the  Embargo 
Act  of  December  22,  1807,  no  vessel  was  to  be  cleared  for 
any  foreign  port  whatever.  Commerce  ceased.  Hushed 
were  the  busy  wharves.  The  merchants  closed  their  doors. 
The  seamen’s  vocation  was  gone.  Industry  was  stagnant. 
Only  the  manufactures  of  New  England  and  Pennsylvania 
found  a  ready  sale.  The  products  of  the  plantation  had  no 
purchasers.  The  Southern  planters  were  hit  hard.  It  was 
at  that  time,  however,  that  the  making  of  salt  was  renewed 



along  the  coast,  and  the  looms  at  home  were  busy  supplying 
clothing.  But  privations  and  loss  and  suffering  were  borne 
because  they  were  in  the  interest  of  peace;  and  while  there 
were  some  divisions  the  mass  of  the  people  sustained  the 

At  the  election,  the  Republicans  held  their  own.  When 
the  Assembly  met,  Joshua  G.  Wright,  who  had  represented 
the  borough  of  Wilmington  for  many  years,  became  the 
Speaker  of  the  House ;  and  although  Governor  Alexander 
sought  reelection,  Williams  was  chosen.  The  conditions 
were  so  serious  that  disregarding  the  example  Washington 
had  set,  the  Assembly,  in  an  address  to  Jefferson,  invited 
him  to  allow  his  name  to  be  presented  for  a  third  term.  In 
the  House  Gaston  opposed  this  resolution,  but  it  was 
adopted  by  a  vote  of  83  to  35.  Jefferson,  however,  did  not 

At  the  next  session  of  Congress  matters  of  great  interest 
were  in  the  minds  of  the  members :  was  it  to  be  peace  or 
war?  Jefferson  not  being  a  candidate,  there  were  several 
factions,  proposing  Monroe,  Madison,  Gallatin  and  others. 
Macon  had  joined  none  of  them.  Madison  was  brought  for¬ 
ward,  with  Clinton  of  New  York  for  the  vice-presidency. 
Jefferson’s  peace  policy  was  approved  by  the  masses;  New 
England,  suffering  from  the  embargo,  alone  did  not  concur. 
Madison  swept  the  other  states,  but  the  embargo  was  deeply 
felt,  while  preparation  for  war  was  necessarily  made.  Such 
were  the  conditions  when  the  Legislature  of  the  State  as¬ 
sembled.  Stone  was  elected  Governor,  his  retirement  from 
the  bench  causing  a  vacancy.  Then  Judge  Spruce  McCay 
had  died,  and  although  the  Governor  had  given  a  tem¬ 
porary  appointment  to  Blake  Baker,  that  vacancy  was  also 
to  be  filled. 

The  former  speakers  were  retained.  In  the  House,  Gas¬ 
ton  now  in  his  second  term,  was  the  member  of  the  first 
consequence.  His  superiority  was  evident.  The  respect 
accorded  him  was  notable.  It  was  not  merely  his  superior 











Biog.  W.W. 
Seaton,  23 






intelligence,-  but  his  personality  that  distinguished  him.  A 
description  of  some  local  theatricals  at  Raleigh  about  that 
time  runs  this  way :  “There  sat  the  learned,  genial  Gaston, 
who  was  equally  happy  in  a  sentimental  song  and  convivial 
chorus,  or  in  racy  anecdote;  unbending  from  his  usual  staid 
reserve  was  Nathaniel  Macon,  whose  name  has  stood  as 
a  sort  of  proverb  for  honesty,  while  greater  still  in 'his 
charming  gentleness,  was  the  wise,  benevolent,  Chief  Jus¬ 
tice  Marshall,  who  undisguisedly  wept  over  the  woes  of 
Jane  -  Shore  or  laughed  with  boyish  glee  until  the  tears 
fairly  rolled  down  his  cheeks.” 

Gaston  had  the  accomplishments  as  well  as  the  intellect 
and  learning.  On  the  floor  of  the  House  he  was,  in  ordi¬ 
nary  business,  largely  the  ruling  spirit.  One  of  his  memor¬ 
able  achievements  was  the  reform  of  the  laws  of  descents, 
his  report  being  admirable,  but  he  was  not  in  line  with  the 
Jeffersonians.  The  Senate  passed  resolutions  strongly  sus¬ 
taining  the  embargo.  In  the  House,  Gaston  offered  a  sub¬ 
stitute,  patriotic,  but  of  a  different  tenor.  For  several  days 
the  debate  continued.  The  House  stood  79  to  29  against 
Gaston.  In  the  Senate  the  vote  had  been  37  to  15.  These 
figures  well  indicated  the  woeful  minority  of  the  Federals 
and  the  overwhelming  attachment  of  the  people  to  the  ad¬ 
ministration.  Still,  while  patriotic  ardor  ran  high,  when 
replying  to  the  call  for  troops,  Gen.  Benjamin  Smith  having 
proposed  that  the  State  would  arm  them  and  furnish  ar¬ 
tillery,  the  House  declined,  contenting  itself  with  declaring 
that  the  State’s  quota  would  be  ready. 

To  succeed  the  lamented  McCay,  his  brother-in-law, 
Leonard  Henderson,  likewise  a  man  of  distinguished  abili¬ 
ties,  was  elected,  and  to  replace  Stone,  Joshua  G.  Wright,  the 
Speaker  of  the  House,  was  chosen.  A  man  of  very  superior 
excellence  in  the  profession,  Wright  resigned  as  a  member 
of  the  House,  thinking  that  the  constitutional  separation  of 
the  judicial  and  legislative  departments  required  his  resigna¬ 
tion.  Immediately,  the  members  of  the  House  unanimously 



chose  Gaston  for  Speaker.  It  was  a  compliment  that  re¬ 
flected  as  much  honor  on  the  body  as  on  Gaston.  Gaston 
differed  from  many  other  men  distinguished  for  high  in¬ 
telligence,  learning  and  character,  as  the  diamond  differs 
from  other  gems  of  great  value. 

On  March  30,  1808,  Congress,  in  view  of  the  aggressions 
of  Great  Britain  and  France,  had  authorized  the  President 
to  call  for  a  detachment  of  100,000  militia,  and  Governor 
Stone  informed  the  Legislature  that  the  Secretary  of  War 
had  notified  him  that  North  Carolina’s  quota  would  be  8,071 
and  steps  should  be  taken  to  officer  and  equip  that  force 
for  service. 

The  State  had  quite  a  number  of  heavy  cannon  and  Gen¬ 
eral  Smith  was  directed  to  propose  to  the  War  Department 
to  exchange  some  of  these  for  brass  field  pieces.  Later 
the  War  Department  declined,  saying  it  had  no  authority  to 
make  the  exchange. 

Beligious  tolerance 

In  1808,  Jacob  Henry  was  elected  to  the  House  from 
Carteret.  He  was  a  Hebrew  and  did  not  accept  the  New 
Testament.  It  is  possible  that  he  was  a  member  of  a  dis¬ 
tinguished  Philadelphia  family,  Gratz,  one  of  whom,  Re¬ 
becca  Gratz,  somewhat  later  became  the  original  of  Rebecca 
in  Ivanhoe.  During  that  session  he  contracted  the  ill  will 
of  another  member;  and  being  elected  again  in  1809,  this 
member  objected  to  his  qualifying  under  the  Constitution. 
Henry  addressed  the  House  in  his  own  behalf,  his  speech 
being  on  the  general  subject  of  religious  tolerance,  but  he 
laid  stress  on  the  legal  proposition  that  the  provision  of  the 
Constitution  was  not  applicable  to  the  Representatives ;  the 
right  of  a  constituency  to  choose  their  representative  was 
not  to  be  abridged.  On  that  he  won.  This  speech  was  so 
superior  that  for  several  generations  parts  of  it  were  em¬ 
bodied  in  books  of  elocution  used  in  the  academies  of  the 







The  Embargo  Act  was  continued  in  operation  until  just  as 
Jefferson  was  surrendering  his  office  to  Madison,  when  with 
the  sanction  of  Congress,  he  substituted  for  it  noninter¬ 
course  with  Great  Britain  and  France,  as  these  two  coun¬ 
tries  alone  were  at  the  bottom  of  our  commercial  troubles; 
and,  indeed,  presently  it  was  suspended  as  to  Great  Britain 
by  Madison,  but  a  few  months  later  was  renewed.  It  was 
during  this  period  that  Macon  participated  most  largely  in 
these  important  matters.  As  chairman  of  the  Committee  on 
Foreign  Affairs,  he  held  a  dominating  position.  He  ever 
worked  to  avoid  war,  but  he  could  not  brook  the  attitude 
of  France  and  of  England. 

By  the  act  interdicting  intercourse  with  Great  Britain  and 
France  passed  March  i,  1809,  both  that  act  and  the  Embargo 
Act  were  to  cease  to  operate  at  the  end  of  the  next  session 
of  Congress.  Subjects  of  such  vital  interest  were  left  for 
the  newly  chosen  Representatives  to  consider. 

Congress  was  called  together  in  May  and  sat  for  a  month, 
but  legislation  was  deferred  until  the  November  session. 
Then  Macon  demonstrated  his  statesmanship.  His  bill  ex¬ 
cluded  both  the  ships  of  war  and  ships  of  commerce  of 
Great  Britain  and  France  from  our  ports.  French  and 
English  goods  were  to  be  brought  into  this  country  only  in 
American  vessels  loaded  at  English  and  French  ports.  The 
President  was  to  remove'  these  restrictions  as  to  either 
country  whenever  that  country  repealed  its  unfriendly  reg¬ 
ulations  regarding  our  commerce.  The  bill  was  short  of 
war  and  held  out  the  olive  branch.  It  passed  the  House, 
but  in  the  Senate  it  was  emasculated.  When  it  came  back 
to  the  House  Macon  denounced  the  Senate  amendments 
as  “a  total  dereliction  of  national  honor,  a  base  submission 
to  the  oppressions  of  the  belligerents,  a  disgraceful  aban¬ 
donment  of  our  policy  of  resistance.”  The  House  stood 
with  Macon ;  the  Senate  would  not  yield.  The  bill  was 
lost.  The  House  now  passed  against  Macon’s  vote  an 
act  reestablishing  intercourse  with  both  countries,  but  if 



either  should  repeal  its  unfriendly  regulations,  then  inter¬ 
course  with  the  other  was  to  be  interdicted  by  proclamation 
of  the  President. 

Stone’s  message 

When  the  Assembly  met  in  November,  Governor  Stone  in 
a  message  of  extreme  verbosity  and  attenuated  composition, 
descanted  on  almost  every  phase  of  state  life  that  could 
claim  the  attention  of  the  Assembly.  He  dwelt  on  the  subject 
of  education,  of  schools,  of  improved  roads  and  inland 
navigation  and,  in  view  of  the  high  cost  of  goods  and  the 
low  value  of  farm  products,  he  urged  that  manufacturing 
should  be  fostered  by  legislation.  And  since  the  case  brought  1809 
by  Granville’s  heirs  had  been  determined  in  the  circuit  court 
against  the  interest  of  the  citizens  interested  and  was  on 
appeal  to  the  Supreme  Court  where  he  apprehended  that  the 
decision  would  be  confirmed,  he  suggested  that  the  State 
should  provide  a  fund  to  reimburse  those  who  might  lose 
their  holdings  under  the  State’s  title.  He  called  attention 
to  the  depreciation  of  the  currency  through  the  over-issue  of 
bank  notes  and  urged  some  measures  of  relief.  Later  he 
communicated  that  the  line  between  the  State  and  South 
Carolina  had  been  fixed,  subject  to  ratification  by  the  re¬ 
spective  legislatures. 

The  press 

While  there  were  annually  elections  and  canvasses  with 
speeches  on  the  hustings,  the  press,  then  as  since,  was 
the  great  medium  of  disseminating  information. 

Hodge,  who  had  presses  at  several  points,  died  in  August, 

1805,  and  William  Boylan,  his  nephew  and  partner,  con-  1809 
tinued  the  business,  keeping  a  large  book  store  in  Raleigh, 
and,  well  trained  by  his  competent  uncle,  proving  a  worthy 
antagonist  of  Joseph  Gales.  Gales,  likewise  had  a  book 
store,  as  he  had  had  in  England,  and  was  a  publisher  of 

books.  Among  his  publications  were  several  editions  of  a 








reprint  of  Haywood’s  Manual,  and  in  1804  a  well- written 
novel,  Matilda  Berkeley,  his  wife  being  the  author,  giving 
a  view  of  society  and  high  life  in  England.  Gales  had 
worn  well,  and  had  established  himself  in  the  respect  and 
confidence  of  his  political  friends.  In  fact  he  was  a  leader 
of  the  Republicans,  but  one  whom  they  were  slow  to  follow 
in  his  progressive  views.  There  was  a  divergence  between 
him  and  Macon  as  to  the  functions  of  government,  and  the 
politicians  in  the  Assembly  adhered  to  Macon. 

Asserting  that  every  other  state  had  established  a  state 
bank,  Gales  had  urged  North  Carolina  to  establish  one,  and 
eventually  was  successful.  He  was  an  advocate  for  home 
manufactures,  urging  the  citizens  of  Raleigh  to  build  a 
factory,  and  he  offered  prizes  for  the  best  cloth  made  in 
the  State.  He  advocated  the  establishment  of  an  insurance 
company,  and  strongly  favored  public  improvements.  In¬ 
deed,  he  was  ever  in  line  with  those  who  were  utilizing 
the  instrumentalities  of  advanced  civilization  to  foster  the 
conveniences  of  life  and  to  promote  the  prosperity  of  the 
community.  His  propositions  to  abolish  imprisonment  for 
debt,  to  establish  a  penitentiary,  and  to  mitigate  the  severe 
penal  code  found  a  supporter  in  Governor  Smith,  who 
urged  these  measures,  but  without  avail. 

In  1807,  W.  W.  Seaton,  a  young  Virginian  of  distin¬ 
guished  connections,  purchased  Hodge’s  North  Carolina 
Journal  at  Halifax,  and  turned  it  into  a  Republican  paper 
with  the  effect  of  strengthening  the  Republican  party  in 
that  section.  Two  years  later  he  joined  at  Raleigh  Gales, 
whose  daughter  he  married.  In  the  meantime  Gales’s  son, 
Joseph,  had  become  a  partner  in  the  publication  of  the 
Intelligencer  at  Washington  City;  and  in  October,  1812, 
Seaton  joined  the  younger  Gales  at  Washington;  and  the 
two  Raleigh  men,  Seaton  and  Gales,  published  the  National 
Intelligencer  that  in  the  decades  to  come  exerted  the  highest 
power  known  to  the  press  in  this  country. 



In  1810,  Federal  papers  were  printed  at  Raleigh,  Wil¬ 
mington,  New  Bern,  Edenton,  and  Fayetteville;  and  at 
Raleigh,  New  Bern  and  Elizabeth  City  were  Republican 
papers ;  while  the  Star ,  published  by  Henderson  at  Raleigh, 
and  the  Journal  at  Halifax,  were  considered  neutral.  The 
Federalists  had  the  advantage  in  the  number  of  publications. 

Macon’s  bill 

In  Congress,  Macon,  being  averse  to  war,  hoped  to  avoid 
it.  He  now  brought  forward  a  measure  that  he  thought 
might  have  a  beneficial  effect. 

Representative  McBryde,  from  the  Moore  district,  wrote 
July  27,  1810:  “We  have  been  engaged  for  some  time 
in  the  discussion  of  a  commercial  bill  reported  by  a  com¬ 
mittee  of  which  Mr.  Macon  was  chairman.  Its  principal 
objects  are  to  repeal  the  nonintercourse  law,  to  interdict 
the  vessels  of  Great  Britain  and  France  from  our  ports  and 
harbors,  to  confine  our  vessels  to  a  direct  trade,  and  to 
prohibit  the  indirect  or  circular  trade.  There  are  nearly 
forty  Federal  members  in  the  House,  of  whom  only  five 
voted  for  the  bill  on  its  second  reading.  (John  Stanly  and 
McBryde  were  among  the  number.)  It  was  only  carried 
by  a  majority  of  seventeen.  The  war  men  are  violently 
opposed  to  it.  They  say  it  is  submission.  The  eastern  men 
(who  were  opposed  to  any  drastic  measures)  say  that 
England  will  retaliate  the  measure  by  corresponding  re¬ 
strictions.”  So  the  year  wore  on,  with  the  country  in  a  dis¬ 
turbed  condition,  and  apprehension  of  war  being  in  the 
minds  of  the  people.  Great  Britain  and  France,  holding 
the  states  in  contempt  because  of  our  weakness,  were 
seizing  American  ships  on  the  high  seas ;  first  and  last, 
Great  Britain  captured  over  900,  and  France  over  550.  If 
Jefferson  had  been  lenient  towards  the  French,  Madison  was 
equally  undemonstrative  against  the  British.  But  Ameri¬ 
can  spirit  was  not  indifferent.  Manhood  asserted  its  sway. 
Still  in  North  Carolina  the  people  followed  Macon  and 

July,  1810 

Hoyt : 
I,  35 

Our  ships 




Biog.  Hist., 
IX,  404 

continued  to  stand  with  the  administration.  At  the  election 
for  Congress  in  1808  John  Stanly,  a  Federalist,  had  beaten 
Blackledge  in  the  New  Bern  district;  but  in  1810,  Gaston 
being  the  Federalist  candidate,  Blackledge  regained  his 
seat  by  a  majority  of  500  votes. 

Smith  progressive 

When  the  Assembly  met  in  November,  1810,  Gen.  Ben¬ 
jamin  Smith  was  chosen  Governor  over  Stone.  At  the 
moment,  war  seemed  inevitable.  But  Governor  Smith  cen¬ 
tered  his  thoughts  on  State  affairs  and  brought  forward 
matters  of  a  remedial  character  for  consideration.  He 
recommended  the  adoption  of  a  penitentiary  system,  and 
appealed  for  a  reform  of  the  too  sanguinary  code  of  the 
State;  recommended  domestic  manufactures,  and  insisted 
that  too  much  attention  could  not  be  paid  to  the  all- 
important  subject  of  education.  “A  certain  degree  of  educa¬ 
tion  should  be  placed  within  the  reach  of  every  child  in 
the  State.  ...  I  am  persuaded,”  he  said,  “that  a  plan 
may  be  formed  upon  economical  principles  which  will  extend 
this  boon  to  the  poor  of  every  neighborhood,  and  at  an 
expense  trifling  beyond  expectation  when  compared  with  the 
incalculable  benefits  from  such  a  philanthropic  system”;  and 
he  continued  to  urge  the  establishment  of  public  schools, 
from  public  considerations.  But  as  yet  the  Legislature  was 
not  ready  to  break  away  from  the  past,  and  public  educa¬ 
tion  was  a  novelty. 

At  Washington 

Naturally  all  eyes  were  turned  on  Washington,  where  the 
great  issues  were  to  be  decided.  Difficult  indeed  was  the 
situation;  with  England  and  France  disregarding  our  rights; 
treating  our  country  contemptuously,  considering  us  too 
weak  to  repel  insults ;  and  our  counsels  divided,  a  war  party 
and  peace  men  not  agreeing  on  measures. 



In  January,  1811,  McBryde  wrote:  “The  great  point  to 
which  our  attention  is  turned  at  present  is  the  bank  and  a 
nonimportation  bill.  This  measure  (the  refusal  to  re¬ 
charter  the  bank)  will  be  attended  by  alarming  conse¬ 
quences.  You  can  have  no  idea  of  the  consternation  that 
prevails  in  all  the  large  towns.  It  is  confidently  affirmed 
that  it  will  withdraw  more  than  twenty  millions  of  circulat¬ 
ing  paper,  for  some  time  at  least,  and  that  it  will,  of  course, 
bankrupt  thousands.” 

As  to  the  nonimportation  proposition,  he  said:  “If  this 
law  passes  our  produce  must  sink  to  nothing.  There  will 
be  no  money  to  buy,  and  no  man  can  tell  who  to  trust.  .  .  . 
The  northern  merchants  will  press  immediately  for  their 
debts.  In  short,  I  look  for  nothing  but  confusion  and 

On  the  bank  question  Alston,  McBryde,  Pearson,  Stan¬ 
ford  and  Stanly  stood  for  rechartering.  But  in  the  House 
it  failed  by  a  single  vote,  and  in  the  Senate  a  similar  bill 
failed  only  by  the  casting  vote  of  the  Vice-President. 

At  the  next  session  the  Assembly  reelected  its  former 
speaker;  but  William  Hawkins,  the  Speaker  of  the  House, 
was  chosen  Governor,  and  to  take  his  place,  the  House  fol¬ 
lowed  the  fine  example  set  in  1809.  It  elected  Speaker  one 
of  the  minority,  John  Steele,  the  representative  of  the  bor¬ 
ough  of  Salisbury.  Steele  was  worthy  of  the  honor. 

Governor  Hawkins  was  nearly  twenty  years  the  junior 
of  General  Smith,  whom  he  succeeded,  being  just  thirty-four 
when  elected  Governor;  but  he  had  much  practical  experi¬ 
ence  in  affairs.  Of  him,  it  has  been  said,  “He  was  brave 
when  bravery  was  needed,  but  the  ‘small,  sweet  courtesies 
of  life’  shone  brightly  in  his  daily  intercourse.” 

As  the  measures  in  Congress  involved  the  weal  or  woe 
of  the  country,  party  spirit  was  running  high.  The  drift 
of  opinion  was  for  war.  Henry  Clay  of  Kentucky  had 
served  a  session  in  the  Senate  of  1806;  and  again  in  1810, 
and  was  now  a  Representative.  He  was  of  the  war  party, 

Dodd,  269 




Clay  for 



Car.  Fed. 
Rep.,  Jan 
11,  1812 

W.  R.  King 

and  was  urgent  for  war  with  Great  Britain.  As  such  he 
was  elected  Speaker  of  the  House  when  it  met  in  November, 
i8ii.  The  current  ran  against  Madison,  who  was  being 
overborne  in  his  peace  policy.  The  Federalists  had  always 
favored  England  rather  than  France,  and  they  were  very 
reluctant  to  break  with  Great  Britain.  Their  sentiment 
found  expression  in  the  Carolina  Federal  Republican  that 
had  been  established  at  New  Bern  in  1809.  It  was  argued 
that  war  with  Great  Britain  might  result  in  the  bombard¬ 
ment  of  every  town  on  the  seacoast.  “But,  even  if  in 
mercy,  she  should  not  bombard  our  towns  but  content  her¬ 
self  with  sweeping  every  American  sail  from  the  ocean  and 
blockading  all  our  ports,  this  would  bring  on  a  scene  of 
disaster  hardly  to  be  described.” 

Nor  were  the  Republican  congressmen  from  the  State  a 
unit  in  supporting  the  administration.  But  at  this  session 
a  new  member,  young  and  virile,  appeared  in  the  delegation 
to  strengthen  the  war  party,  William  R.  King  of  Sampson. 
His  father  was  a  patriot  of  the  Revolution,  a  gentleman  of 
fortune  and  character.  Educated  at  the  University,  trained 
as  a  lawyer  by  the  eminent  William  Duffy  of  Fayetteville, 
and  associated  with  the  thoughtful  men  of  the  Cape  Fear, 
he  threw  his  weight  on  the  side  of  resisting  British  aggres¬ 
sion.  It  was  badly  needed,  for  the  North  Carolina  delega¬ 
tion  was  no  longer  Republican.  Blackledge,  Macon,  Me- 
shack  Franklin,  the  sterling  brother  of  Senator  Franklin, 
stood  almost  alone  when  King  raised  his  voice  for  war. 
Richard  Stanford  of  Person,  who  had  followed  Randolph 
in  his  vagaries,  made  a  strong  speech  against  war,  and 
King  hotly  replied:  “Sir,  the  demon  of  avarice  which  be¬ 
numbs  every  warm  emotion  of  the  soul,  has  not  yet  gained 
the  ascendancy  in  the  South.  .  .  .  Sir,  I  will  not  yield 

an  inch  of  ground  when,  by  so  doing,  I  destroy  an  essential 
right  of  my  country,  or  sap  the  foundations  of  that  inde¬ 
pendence  cemented  bv  the  blood  of  our  fathers.  We  were 
told  by  a  gentleman  from  Virginia  (Randolph)  a  few  days 



since  that  we  have  sufficient  cause  for  war.  I  ask  you  then, 
why  do  we  hesitate  ?  Shall  we  always  yield  ?  The  adoption 
of  this  resolution  is  the  touchstone,  by  it  we  rise  or  fall.” 
He  concluded  by  denouncing  the  policy  of  his  colleagues, 
“who  still  advocated  compromise  and  peace.”  This  was  the 
beginning  of  a  career  that  gave  King  a  high  place  among 
the  most  distinguished  public  men  contributed  by  North 
Carolina  to  our  country. 

The  increasing  opposition  to  the  administration  measures 
made  the  leaders  in  the  Assembly  apprehensive  lest  Madison 
might  lose  some  votes  in  the  electoral  college,  and  to  avert 
that  the  act  of  1802,  providing  for  the  election  of  electors 
by  districts,  was  repealed,  and  the  following  Legislature  was 
authorized  to  choose  the  electors. 

This  action  was  roundly  denounced  by  the  Federalists. 
“A  sacred  privilege  has  been  forcibly  torn  from  the  people 
by  the  arbitrary  will  of  a  desperate  majority.  .  .  .  Thirteen 
years  ago  such  an  assumption  of  power  would  have  produced 
rebellion  and  bloodshed.”  At  the  spring  term  of  the  courts 
some  of  the  grand  jurors  made  presentment  of  the  act  as  a 
grievance.  Iredell  County  began  it,  and  requested  the  court 
to  order  their  presentment  published;  and  the  court  so  or¬ 
dered.  Then  Cumberland,  Richmond,  Rowan,  Pitt,  Franklin, 
Greene,  Caswell  and  Montgomery  followed  suit.  And  John¬ 
ston,  also;  but  Judge  Lowrie  declined  to  order  the  publi¬ 
cation.  Feeling  ran  high  in  the  State. 

As  the  embargo  and  nonintercourse  acts  did  not  apply  to 
domestic  commerce,  so  the  trade  of  our  ports  with  those 
to  the  north  was  not  affected.  At  Wilmington,  which  was 
the  shipping  point  for  produce  brought  from  the  interior 
to  Fayetteville,  it  was  continued  as  usual.  And  so,  at  New 
Bern  and  the  other  sound  ports ;  and  about  two-thirds  of  our 
commerce  went  through  Ocracoke.  On  January  11,  1812, 
the  Federal  Republican  mentions  as  entering  New  Bern — 
one  vessel  from  New  York,  one  from  Charleston,  and  two 
from  Beaufort,  and  as  clearing,  four  for  New  York,  one  for 

Dodd :  Life 
of  Macon, 
p.  276 

The  grand 





New  Bern 




Charleston,  one  for  Bermuda,  and  one  for  Antigua.  And 
so  it  continued. 

In  that  period,  however,  to  supply  salt,  works  were  es¬ 
tablished  here  and  there  along  the  coast.  Those  on  the 
sound  near  Wilmington  proved  highly  remunerative ;  and 
notwithstanding  some  cessation  after  the  war,  the  product  in 
1815  was  more  than  thirty  thousand  bushels. 

The  trade  of  New  Bern  was  very  important,  only  ex¬ 
ceeded  by  that  of  Wilmington,  which  included  the  imports 
destined  for  the  back  country  through  Fayetteville.  In  the 
spring  of  1812  corn  was  selling  at  New  Bern  at  40  to 
45  cents;  cotton  at  10  to  12  cents;  flour  $7.00  a  barrel; 
bacon  10  cents  and  tobacco  3  cents.  And  at  that  time  there 
were  offered  for  sale  for  cash  or  barter  for  corn,  54  bags 
of  coffee  at  16  cents,  18  barrels  of  Muscavado  sugar  at  12 
cents;  10  barrels  loaf  sugar  at  21  cents;  20  boxes  choco¬ 
late  22  to  30  cents;  10  hogsheads  molasses  at  58  cents  a 
gallon  and  2  pipes  of  cognac  brandy  at  $3.00  a  gallon. 
They  also  had  at  New  Bern  a  living  elephant  and  a  beauti¬ 
ful  African  leopard;  and  a  piano  was  offered  for  sale. 
Often  half  a  dozen  vessels  arrived  during  the  day,  and  an 
equal  number  cleared ;  chiefly  the  trade  was  with  New  York. 


In  February,  1812,  in  preparation  for  war,  a  regiment  was 
to  be  raised  in  the  State,  and  William  Polk,  a  veteran  of  the 
Revolution  and  resident  of  Raleigh,  was  appointed  colonel 
of  the  regiment;  James  Welborn  of  Wilkes,  lieutenant- 
colonel  ;  A.  F.  McNeil  of  Wilmington,  second  lieutenant- 
colonel ;  Benjamin  White  of  Craven,  first  major,  and 
Thomas  Taylor  of  Granville,  second  major. 

The  year  1812  opened  with  ominous  signs  of  war.  Often 
had  physical  phenomena  been  associated  with  great  human 
events.  Three  suns  seen  in  the  heavens  preceded  the  final 
outbreak  that  was  closed  by  Charles  the  First  losing  his 
head ;  and  three  suns  were  observed  one  afternoon  in  North 



Carolina  just  before  President  Lincoln  called  for  troops  in 
April,  1861. 

There  was  a  very  severe  earthquake  on  the  morning  of 
December  23,  especially  violent  towards  Charleston;  then 
on  February  7,  1812,  at  four  in  the  morning  New  Bern 
was  greatly  disturbed  by  a  violent  rocking  for  two  minutes ; 
and  again  at  eleven  that  night  there  was  another  of  nearly 
equal  force;  and  two  weeks  later  Mecklenburg  County  was 
visited  by  a  disturbance  of  great  violence. 

And  it  was  in  January,  1812,  that  a  veracious  newspaper 
writer  endowed  with  a  fine  imagination  described  with 
great  particularity,  “great  smoke  issuing  from  Spears 
Mountain,  great  noise;  a  volcano  had  burst  forth  on  the 
French  Broad ;  still  continues  to  burn  with  great  violence, 
throwing  out  lava,  etc.,-  with  most  tremendous  noise  in 
Buncombe,”  of  which  President  Jefferson  made  a  historic 
note  not  complimentary  to  North  Carolina. 

In  Congress  the  question  of  war  was  the  great  issue. 
Speaker  Clay  was  insistent,  Madison  yielded,  and  on  June  1, 
he  sent  to  Congress  a  message  for  war  with  Great  Britain. 
Pennsylvania,  a  manufacturing  state,  and  the  agricultural 
states  of  the  South  gave  62  votes  for  the  declaration  and  32 
against  it.  The  mercantile  states  at  the  North  gave  17  for 
the  war,  and  32  against  it.  The  sentiment  of  the  sections 
was  evident;  New  England  was  opposed,  and  not  all  of 
the  Southern  Republicans  were  in  favor  of  the  measure. 
The  declaration  was  made  by  the  President  on  June  19. 

Six  months  after  Hawkins  became  Governor,  on  the 
23d  of  June,  an  express  messenger  brought  him  the  in¬ 
formation  of  the  declaration,  and  his  service  as  Governor 
covered  the  entire  period  of  the  war.  After  the  declaration 
a  new  issue  was  brought  into  discussion  in  the  State.  Be¬ 
fore  that  there  had  been  apprehensions :  now  war  had  come. 
Not  merely  were  there  the  normal  differences  between  the 
Federals  and  Republicans,  the  outs  and  the  ins,  the  war  men 
and  the  peace  men,  those  who  favored  England  and  those 


of  war 





The  Anti- 



still  in  rebellion  against  the  old  mother  country;  but  there 
was  another  potent  political  war  cry.  The  Republicans  to 
secure  the  election  of  Madison  had  taken  from  the  people 
their  right  to  vote.  The  people  were  disfranchised.  By 
the  act  of  December,  1811,  the  presidential  electors  were 
to  be  chosen  by  the  Assembly.  Gaston  petitioned  the  Gov¬ 
ernor  to  convene  the  Assembly  in  special  session  to  undo 
this  arbitrary  evil,  but  it  was  too  late.  The  presentments 
made  by  the  grand  jurors  only  voiced  the  indignation  that 
inflamed  the  popular  heart.  At  the  election  in  August 
James  Mebane,  the  Senator  from  Orange  who  had  intro¬ 
duced  the  measure,  was  opposed  by  Archibald  D.  Murphey, 
who  now  entered  on  a  political  career.  Murphey  was  a 
Republican,  and  still  proposed  to  stand  by  Madison;  but 
he  was  a  leader  in  the  Republican  opposition  to  this  meas¬ 
ure,  and  he  had  many  in  cooperation.  Most  of  those  who 
had  supported  the  measure  in  the  Assembly  were  now  op-  ’ 
posed  by  “Anti-Electoral’’  Republicans  aided  by  the  Fed- 
erals,  and  fell  by  the  wayside.  The  result  was  disastrous  to 
them.  Many  were  retired,  Mebane  was  defeated  two  to 
one.  Sixty  Federals  were  elected,  among  them  Gaston, 
Steele,  Stanly,  and  other  old-time  leaders ;  but  the  Repub¬ 
licans  still  held  the  Assembly. 

When  the  Assembly  met  Hawkins  was  reelected  Gov¬ 
ernor.  General  Riddick,  who  had  long  been  Speaker  of 
the  Senate,  had  died  during  the  year.  He  was  replaced 
by  George  Outlaw  of  Bertie,  a  gentleman  of  “great  seren¬ 
ity  and  address,”  so  endowed  as  to  be  ever  popular,  and  he 
was  highly  esteemed  as  the  Moderator  of  the  Chowan 
Baptist  Association ;  while  in  the  House,  William  Miller 
of  Warren  was  chosen  to  preside.  George  Clinton  of  New 
York  was  the  Vice-President  elected  four  years  earlier 
with  Madison;  DeWitt  Clinton  of  New  York  had  deserted 
Madison  and  was  taken  up  by  the  Federals  as  their  candi¬ 
date  for  President.  In  the  Legislature  the  vote  for  Madi- 



son  electors  was  130;  for  DeWitt  Clinton  only  60;  the  Re¬ 
publicans  had  more  than  two  to  one. 

The  Assembly,  responsive  to  the  popular  demand,  how¬ 
ever,  by  a  large  majority  in  both  branches  passed  a  reso¬ 
lution  to  lay  off  the  State  into  fifteen  districts,  and  likewise 
proposed  to  Congress  an  amendment  to  the  Constitution  to 
establish  a  uniform  mode  of  choosing  electors  by  districts, 
and  on  February  15,  1813,  that  resolution  was  being  dis¬ 
cussed  by  the  United  States  Senate ;  but  the  better  opinion 
of  that  generation  seems  to'  have  been  that  the  organic  law 
should  not  unnecessarily  be  altered.  The  Constitution  was 
not  to  be  lightly  changed. 

David  Stone,  as  a  war  man,  was  chosen  Senator  to  suc¬ 
ceed  Jesse  Franklin,  who  had  defeated  him  six  years  earlier, 
although  Stone  later .  declared  that  he  had  not  desired  the 

A  stay  law  was  passed  forbidding  the  issue  of  executions 
until  1814  in  cases  where  security  was  given;  and  it  was 
a  busy  session,  there  being  129  acts  passed. 

Steamboats  were  now  in  use  at  the  North.  Stevens  &  Co., 
Stevens  having  been  a  former  partner  of  Fulton,  were 
engaged  in  building  them  and  trying  to  obtain  the  exclusive 
right  to  use  them  on  available  waters.  They  applied  at  this 
session  of  the  Assembly  for  the  exclusive  privilege  of  using 
them  in  North  Carolina.  Their  application  was  granted  for 
twenty  years,  “provided  they  would  put  on  one  every  two 
years.”  That  in  twenty  years  would  have  required  ten 
boats,  and  the  condition  was  not  attractive,  so  it  does  not 
appear  that  it  was  accepted. 

The  tragedy  of  Mrs.  Alston 

While  the  Assembly  was  in  session  there  occurred  a 
horrible  murder  on  our  coast.  In  December,  1812,  Aaron 
Burr  sent  a  pilot  boat,  the  Patriot ,  from  New  York  to 
Charleston  to  bring  his  daughter,  Theodosia,  wife  of  Gov- 




Biog.  Hist., 
IV,  426 





ernor  Alston  of  South  Carolina  (grandson  of  Gen.  John 
Ashe)  to  New  York. 

Timothy  Green,  an  intimate  friend  of  Governor  Alston’s 
family,  sailed  in  the  pilot  boat  for  the  purpose  of  accom¬ 
panying  Mrs.  Alston  on  her  voyage.  From  the  time  they 
sailed  from  Charleston  December  30,  no  tidings  whatever 
was  heard  of  the  vessel  or  of  any  one  on  board.  Seven 
years  passed  before  the  mystery  was  cleared  up.  In  the 
Raleigh  Register,  June  30,  1820,  was  this  announcement: 
“A  gentleman  recently  from  New  Orleans  has  communicated 
to  a  friend  of  the  family  of  the  late  Mr.  Greene  that  two 
of  the  pirates  lately  sentenced  to  suffer  death  at  New 
Orleans  confessed  that  they  composed  part  of  the  crew 
of  the  above  pilot  boat,  Patriot;  that  after  being  at  sea 
two  or  three  days,  and  near  the  shore,  they  rose  upon  the 
captain  and  passengers,  and  confined  them’  below — when 
they  stood  close  in  shore,  and  after  plundering  the  passengers 
of  a  considerable  sum  of  money  and  plate,  belonging  mostly 
to  Mrs.  Alston,  they  launched  the  boat  and  scuttled  the  ves¬ 
sel,  which  soon  filled  and  went  down,  with  the  unfortunate 
inmates  confined  below.  This  dreadful  tragedy  was  per¬ 
formed  in  the  dead  of  night.  The  wretches  succeeded  in 
reaching  the  shore  with  the  boat,  and  had  thus  far  escaped 
detection  and  punishment  for  this  horrible  crime.” 

In  1820,  and  earlier  and  later,  there  were  many  trials  for 
piracy  at  New  Orleans.  Pirates  infested  the  Gulf  of  Mex¬ 
ico.  These  men  mentioned  above  were  taken  as  pirates  for 
deeds  then  recently  committed  and,  after  conviction,  told 
of  the  murder  of  Mrs.  Alston.  Of  her  death  they  perhaps 
would  never  have  known  had  they  not  had  personal  knowl¬ 
edge.  Before  that  she  was  supposed  to  have  perished  in 
some  other  way.  The  story  bears  the  earmarks  of  truth. 

Fifty  years  later,  in  1869,  Dr.  William  G.  Pool  at¬ 
tended  a  sick  woman  at  Kitty  Hawk  on  the  banks  near  Nags 
Head,  and  in  compensation  for  his  services  she  gave  him 
a  painting  then  hanging  in  her  room.  It  was  the  picture  of 



a  lady  on  polished  mahogany,  twelve  inches  in  length  and 
enclosed  in  a  frame  richly  gilded.  With  reluctance  she  said 
that  many  years  before  a  vessel  with  sails  set  had  been 
wrecked  on  the  beach,  no  person  being  aboard,  and  that 
some  one  who  found  this  picture  in  the  cabin  had  preserved 
it.  A  photograph  of  this  picture  was  submitted  to  Mrs. 
Wheeler,  the  wife  of  Col.  John  H.  Wheeler,  the  historian, 
who  on  comparing  it  with  a  miniature  of  Theodosia  Burr, 
found  them  so  similar  that  she,  a  daughter  of  Sully,  and 
herself  an  artist,  recognized  it  as  a  portrait  of  Mrs.  Alston. 

Pool,  Lit.  on 





The  War  Opens 

The  militia. — Military  conditions. — The  Stanly-Henry  duel. — 
The  British  fleet  arrives  in  Chesapeake. — The  Snap  Dragon. — 
The  first  prize. — Judge  Harris  dies. — Federal  leaders. — Gaston’s 
position. — The  Federalists  gain. — Macon  inconsistent. — Davie  de¬ 
clines  to  serve. — Beaufort  blockaded. — New  Bern  alarmed. — 
The  British  at  Ocracoke. — Preparations  for  defense. — The  militia. 
— At  Raleigh. — The  ladies  active. — General  Jones. — Governor 
Hawkins — Great  activity. — Munitions  supplied — Beaufort  garri¬ 
soned,  Wilmington  and  all  the  country  stirred. — The  fleet  sails 
away. — The  enterprise  of  the  people. — The  Clarendon  Steamboat 
Company. — Stages  to  Portsmouth. — Lincoln’s  cotton  mill  and  iron 
manufactures. — Gaston’s  speech. — Conditions. — The  Frolic  and 
the  Wasp. — Coast  defenses. — The  Snap  Dragon. — Blakely. — The 
Wasp. — Reverses  on  land. — The  Federals  exult. — Chippewa. — 
Lundy’s  Lane. — Benjamin  Forsyth. — The  State  adopts  his  son 
and  Ulna  Blakely. — Fort  Mimms. — General  Graham. — North  Caro¬ 
lina  troops  at  Norfolk. — The  British  fleet. — Stone’s  retirement. 
— Miller  Governor,  Cameron  Judge,  and  Locke  elected  Senator. 

The  militia 

For  military  purposes  each  county  was  divided  into  militia 
districts,  every  district  having  its  own  militia  company, 
which  with  the  Others  formed  the  county  regiment.  The 
regiments  of  several  adjoining  counties  formed  a  brigade. 
The  Legislature  elected  the  generals  and  field  officers  and 
the  organization,  supervised  by  the  Adjutant-General,  was 
carefully  kept  up.  Besides  there  were  in  many  counties 
organized  and  disciplined  military  companies,  generally 
cavalry,  ready  for  active  service  on  emergency.  The  militia 
companies  and  regiments  were  required  by  law  to  meet  and 
muster  every  year.  The  militia  districts  were  the  only 
units  of  county  organization.  So  when  the  committees  of 
safety  were  to  be  chosen  on  the  outbreak  of  the  Revolu¬ 
tion,  they  were  elected  by  military  districts.  On  muster 
days  all  persons  liable  to  military  service  had  to  meet,  be 
enrolled  and  muster.  General  Davie  wrote  a  volume  on 
military  tactics,  which  was  adopted  and  in  use  and  doubt- 



less  at  the  musters  there  was  drilling,  so  that  the  militia  had 
some  slight  acquaintance  with  military  discipline  and  com¬ 
mands.  The  militia  therefore  was  in  some  measure  an  or¬ 
ganized  military  force.  It  is  to  be  mentioned  that  the  free 
negroes  were  required  to  attend  musters  until  relieved  of 
that  duty.  On  different  occasions  because  of  threatened 
negro  insurrections,  the  militia  of  several  counties  were 
called  out.  When  the  tocsin  of  war  sounded  in  1812  the 
militia  regiments  of  several  counties  were  embodied  and 
saw  active  service. 

Conditions  for  defense 

After  the  war  fever  of  1798  had  subsided  but  little  had 
been  done  to  improve  the  fortifications  on  the  coast,  but 
when  the  irritation  with  France  and  England  became  pro¬ 
nounced  the  militia  was  organized ;  and  General  Smith,  who 
had  a  large  number  of  negroes,  entered  in  1805  into  a 
contract  with  the  government  to  erect  a  sepia  stone  case¬ 
mate  fort  on  the  site  of  the  old  Fort  Johnston,  under  the  di¬ 
rection  of  army  engineers.  The  fort  in  1805  was  under 
the  command  of  Lieut.  John  Fergus  of  Bladen  County, 
and  in  that  year  Capt.  Joseph  Gardner  Swift,  the  first  grad¬ 
uate  of  West  Point,  was  sent  to  have  the  fortifications  com- 


pleted.  Other  points  also  had  received  some  attention ; 
the  militia  had  been  organized  by  Adjt.  Gen.  Edward 
Pasteur  of  New  Bern;  and  on  his  resignation  in  June,  1808, 

Calvin  Jones  of  Wake  County  became  Adjutant  General  and 
addressed  himself  to  his  duties  with  zeal  and  energy,  and 
he  continued  this  acceptable  service  until  the  war  opened 
in  1812.  In  December  of  that  year  he  was  commissioned 
Major-General,  having  under  him  the  5th  and  17th  brigades,  December 
covering  eight  counties  assigned  to  the  Edgecombe  and  1812 
Wake  brigades.  Now,  although  North  Carolina  was  not 
then  invaded,  there  was  a  call  for  volunteers.  There  were 
51,000  militia  men  on  the  roll,  but  only  7,000  were  asked 
for,  the  President  to  supply  them  with  arms.  Volunteers 



were  being  organized  into  detachments  to  respond  to  orders, 
and  volunteer  companies  were  forming  in  every  county.  In 
the  meantime  Fort  Johnston  had  been  garrisoned  by  a 
company  of  the  First  Regiment  of  U.  S.  Artillery. 

Biog.  Hist., 
II,  165 

The  British 

Henry  duel 

About  the  middle  of  February,  1813,  New  Bern  was  in 
the  shadow  of  grief  cast  over  the  community  by  the  trag¬ 
ical  ending  of  an  unimportant  incident.  Thomas  Stanly  and 
Lewis  Henry  had  been  classmates  at  college,  long  friends 
and  intimates,  and  now  law  students  at  New  Bern.  At  a 
supper  given  by  Gaston,  Stanly  playfully  tossed  a  morsel  of 
cake  across  the  table  which,  falling  in  Henry’s  cup  of  tea, 
splashed  his  vest.  A  lady  at  Henry’s  side  made  a  remark 
that  aggravated  the  incident.  An  insult  was  suggested ;  a 
hasty  reply  given  and  a  challenge  followed.  Young  Stanly 
consulted  his  elder  brother,  Hon.  John  Stanly,  who  advised 
the  meeting.  The  meeting  took  place  on  Sunday,  Feb¬ 
ruary  14,  within  the  border  of  Virginia.  At  the  first  dis¬ 
charge,  Stanly  was  instantly  killed.  He  was  in  his  23d 
year  and  was  just  about  to  apply  for  admission  to  the  bar. 
Certainly  the  affair  should  be  attributed  to  John  Stanly  who 
himself  had  killed  Spaight. .  After  Stanly  had  fallen  every 
measure  was  taken  which  humanity  or  friendship  could 
dictate.  Up  to  the  day  of  his  death,  this  tragedy  was  ever  a 
blight  on  Henry’s  peace  of  mind.  While  New  Bern  was 
agitated  over  this  lamentable  affair  came  the  disquieting 
news  that  the  apprehensions  of  the  Federalist  leaders  were 
not  without  foundation.  A  British  fleet  entered  the  capes 
and  anchored  in  Lynnhaven  Bay.  There  were  about  a  dozen 
ships  of  war.  The  cruisers  had  taken  quite  a  fleet  of  mer¬ 
chantmen  in  Chesapeake  Bay,  and  among  them  several  New 
Bern  vessels  bound  to  New  York. 

But  New  Bern  was  not  without  reprisals. 


22  5 

Snap  Dragon 

The  merchants  of  New  Bern,  always  as  enterprising  as 
they  were  patriotic,  had  in  the  Revolution  successfully 
preyed  on  British  commerce,  much  to  their  advantage. 
Now,  no  sooner  had  war  been  declared  than  Otway  Burns, 
a  native  of  Beaufort  and  captain  of  a  merchantman  plying 
between  New  Bern  and  Portland,  Maine,  arranged  through 
a  joint  stock  company  for  the  purchase  of  a  larger  and 
swifter  vessel,  which  he  fully  equipped  as  a  privateer  and 
took  out  letters  and  began  operations.  He  sailed  down 
into  the  Spanish  Main,  and  took  several  small  prizes  and 
towards  the  end  of  February,  1813,  while  the  British  fleet 
was  at  Lynnhaven  Bay,  there  entered  New  Bern  the  sloop 
Fillis — Miller  prize-master,  a  prize  to  the  privateer  schooner 
Snap  Dragon ,  taken  the  18th  of  January  in  the  Caribbean 
Sea.  The  Snap  Dragon  was  bound  to  Carthagena  to  victual 
for  another  cruise,  “all  well  and  good  spirits  aboard."  And 
then  on  April  10,  1813,  the  Snap  Dragon  itself  came  to 
New  Bern,  Edward  Pasteur  being  the  master. 

On  Monday,  March  29,  Judge  Edward  Harris  of  New 
Bern  died  in  the  court  at  Lumberton.  In  1801  he  had 
served  for  one  month  as  the  circuit  judge  of  the  United 
States,  then  in  1811  on  the  death  of  the  lamented  Joshua  G. 
Wright,  judge  of  the  Superior  Court,  he  had  been  ap¬ 
pointed  to  that  vacancy.  “It  seems  that  he  left  home  under 
the  impression  that  he  would  not  survive  the  circuit,  and  a 
complete  suit  of  burial  clothes  was  found  in  his  trunk.” 
At  that  period  the  judges  and  attorneys,  for  the  want  of 
other  conveyances,  traveled  in  their  own  gigs,  that  being 
before  the  introduction  of  buggies. 

Notwithstanding  the  declaration  of  war  and  the  call  of  the 
country  to  arms,  the  Federalist  leaders  were  active  against 
the  administration.  Congress  was  to  convene  early  in  May 
and  Governor  Hawkins  issued  a  proclamation  ordering  the 
election  of  Representatives  to  be  held  on  the  30th  of  April 




Fed.  Rep., 
Feb.  27, 

Death  of 



Hoyt : 
I,  68 

al  election 





instead  of  waiting  until  August.  Gaston’s  position  may  be 
taken  as  that  of  all  the  Federalist  candidates.  “Convinced 
that  we  had  well-founded  causes  of  complaint  against  each 
of  the  great  belligerents  of  Europe,  I  nevertheless  could 
not  but  view  the  selection  of  Great  Britain  for  our  enemy, 
while  the  relations  of  friendship  were  courted  with  France, 
as  an  act  of  extravagance  and  rashness,  astonishing  and 
unaccountable.  It  is  forbidden  by  our  interests.  From 
the  honor  and  fair  character  of  the  nation,  nothing  could 
be  more  abhorrent.  If  the  declaration  of  war  is  to  be  la¬ 
mented,  there  is  little  consolation  to  be  found  in  the  manner 
of  its  prosecution.  I  avow  myself  the  earnest  and  anxious 
friend  of  peace.  The  difference  between  the  United  States 
and  our  enemy  is  now  understood  to  be  confined  to  a  single 
point,  the  right  of  search  for  British  seamen.  I  will  not 
as  a  man  and,  as  a  Christian,  I  dare  not,  yield  my  consent 
to  shed  blood  or  waste  the  treasure  of  my  countrymen  upon 
an  abstract  question  of  doubtful  right.  At  whatever  risque 
or  cost,  I  am  prepared  to  protect  my  country  and  every  sec¬ 
tion  of  it  from  attack,  but  I  am  not  disposed  to  aid  in 
schemes  of  foreign  conquests,”  etc.  At  the  election,  Black- 
ledge  who,  however,  did  not  canvass,  received  only  943 
votes,  while  Gaston  received  2,763,  nearly  five  hundred 
more  than  two  years  before,  when  he  was  beaten  by  five 
hundred.  In  the  Fayetteville  district  Rev.  John  Culpepper, 
a  Baptist  minister,  was  elected  over  J.  A.  Cameron,  both 
Federals,  while  D.  M.  McFarland  received  the  smallest  vote. 
Stanford,  who  had  been  a  Republican,  defeated  Mebane, 
who  had  introduced  the  bill  taking  from  the  people  their 
right  to  vote  for  electors,  Stanford  being  against  the  war 
and  the  war  measures.  William  Kennedy,  Federalist  of 
Tarboro,  was  elected  by  a  very  small  majority.  On  the 
whole,  the  Republicans  held  their  own  fairly  well,  but  Mr. 
Macon  now  began  what  appears  to  be  an  inconsistent 
course,  not  supporting  the  war  measures  himself,  and  setting 
an  example  that  some  of  his  friends  followed. 



In  March,  1813,  the  President  appointed  to  be  major 
generals  in  the  United  States  army,  W.  R.  Davie  and  Wade 
Hampton,  and  these  appointments  were  immediately  con¬ 
firmed  by  the  Senate ;  but  Davie  did  not  accept  and  re¬ 
mained  at  his  home  on  the  Catawba. 


During  Jefferson’s  administration  the  construction  of  a 
large  number  of  small  gunboats  had  been  authorized  and 
there  were  several  of  these  at  Wilmington  out  of  commis¬ 
sion;  at  New  Bern  there  was  at  least  one,  named  “No.  150.” 
Early  in  May  a  rumor  came  from  Beaufort  that  Beaufort 
was  blockaded  by  two  British  schooners,  and  May  21  the 
•specie  in  the  vaults  of  the  New  Bern  branch  of  the  Bank  of 
the  State  was  removed  in  two  wagons  to  Raleigh.  “Since 
the  blockade  of  the  Chesapeake,”  said  the  Federal  Repub¬ 
lican,  “several  vessels  whose  destination  was  the  bay,  have 
come  into  Ocracoke  or  Beaufort,  and  have  dispatched  their 
cargoes  to  Norfolk  through  the  canal.  .  .  .  Beaufort 

has  a  reasonable  protection  from  its  fort;  Ocracoke  has  only 
its  shoal  water,  the  revenue  cutter  and  the  militia.  On  May 
21  a  schooner  arrived  off"  Ocracoke  and  was  intent  on  sur¬ 
prising  the  cutter,  but  failed.  ...  On  June  1  the 
British  armed  schooner  High-flyer  was  seen  off  the  bar  of 
Beaufort,  and  Captain  Burns  sailed  immediately  with  the 
Snap  Dragon  'and  a  noble  crew’  for  Beaufort.  Should  the 
Snap  Dragon  be  so  fortunate  as  to  fall  in  with  High- flyer, 
we  have  no  doubt  of  her  success.” 

The  proximity  of  the  British  fleet  and  the  possibility  of 
attack  had  now  been  for  four  months  in  the  minds  of  the 
people  on  the  seacoast.  They  had  become  accustomed  to  the 
situation ;  when  suddenly  unheralded,  at  daybreak  on  the 
12th  of  July  a  fleet  of  nine  ships,  among  them  two  brigs  and 
two  schooners,  anchored  off  Ocracoke  bar,  and  nineteen 
barges  each  carrying  an  18  pounder  carronade  and  forty 




New  Bern 





Alarm  at 
New  Bern 

At  Raleigh 

men  came  inside  the  bar.  In  the  channel  lav  in  fancied 

•  j 

security  the  privateers  Anaconda  and  the  Atlas ,  and  the 
revenue  cutter,  not  so  well  armed.  The  barges  at  once  at¬ 
tacked  the  two  armed  vessels,  and  after  a  spirited  resistance 
took  them,  but  the  greater  part  of  the  crews  escaped  to  the 
shore.  The  revenue  cutter  made  sail.  It  was  the  expecta¬ 
tion  of  the  British  admiral  to  seize  all  the  vessels  and  pro¬ 
ceed  at  once  to  capture  New  Bern;  but  although  the  two 
brigs  and  two  schooners  came  inside  and  pursuit  was  made, 
the  cutter  was  successful  in  making  her  escape,  and  reached 
New  Bern.  There  the  inhabitants  realized  the  peril.  There 
were  bustling  preparations  for  battle,  and  the  flight  of  the 
women  and  children  ensued.  A  committee  of  safety  was 
appointed  to  aid  the  militia  officers  in  preparing  for  defense. 
Heavy  cannon  were  mounted  and  breastworks  were  erected 
at  different  points  in  the  town,  and  ammunition  was  col¬ 
lected  from  the  county,  and  from  Washington  and  Beau¬ 
fort.  The  militia  from  the  adjoining  counties  flocked  in  in 
great  numbers.  In  a  few  hours  2,000  men  were  collecting. 

Altogether  the  British  had  some  thirty  barges,  arid  it  was 
reported  that  they  had  landed  a  thousand  men  at  Ports¬ 
mouth  and  Ocracoke.  They  collected  hundreds  of  cattle 
and  sheep  which  they  sent  off  to  the  Chesapeake.  But 
foiled  in  their  hope  of  surprising  New  Bern,  they  made  no 
further  invasion. 

On  the  16th,  four  days  after  the  British  landing,  the  news 
reached  Raleigh.  On  Sunday,  the  18th,  Gen.  Calvin  Jones 
with  his  aides  and  Captain  Clark’s  Company  of  Raleigh 
Guards,  took  the  road  for  New  Bern.  The  ladies  of  Ra¬ 
leigh  were  helpful  in  preparing  them  for  the  hasty  march,  in 
a  few  hours  making  for  them  100  knapsacks.  The  next 
morning,  Governor  Hawkins,  along  with  Gen.  Robert  Wil- 
Hams  and  Major  Thomas  Henderson,  also  hurried  on,  ac¬ 
companied  by  Captain  Hawkins’s  troop  of  cavalry.  The 
Governor  had  lost  no  time  in  making  requisitions  from  the 
eastern  counties  for  troops,  and  on  Wednesday  Colonel 



Roper  and  Maj.  Daniel  L.  Barringer  led  a  hundred  men 
from  Wake  County  to  the  front.  The  response  to  the  call 
to  arms  was  quick.  Detachments  were  now  hurrying  from 
the  interior  to  the  sea  coast,  great  activity  pervaded  the 
country.  The  supply  of  munitions  was  limited.  All  the 
powder  and  lead  that  could  be  found  at  Raleigh,  Hillsboro 
and  Fayetteville  and  other  places  were  collected.  There 
were  some  arms  at  Wilmington,  and  a  part  of  these  were 
sent  to  New  Bern.  While  the  Governor  had  the  purpose  to 
be  in  the  front  line  of  battle  himself,  he  conferred  the  com¬ 
mand  of  the  sea  coast  on  Gen.  Calvin  Jones.  General  Jones 
reached  New  Bern  in  two  days  and,  fearing  lest  Beaufort 
might  be  attacked,  he  sent  a  large  detachment  to  garrison  the 
fortifications  there,  consisting  of  Fort  Hampton,  Fort  Gas¬ 
ton  and  Fort  Pigott. 

While  these  preparations  were  made  at  New  Bern,  other 
detachments  had  hurried  to  Wilmington.  There  similar 
efforts  were  in  progress  to  withstand  the  invader.  Indeed, 
a  gale  of  patriotic  ardor  swept  throughout  the  whole  State, 
and  the  people  in  unison  were  responding  to  their  country’s 
call ;  but  unknown  to  them,  the  danger  had  faded  away. 
After  five  days  passed  harmlessly  at  Ocracoke,  the  hostile 
fleet  bore  away  to  the  southward,  and  except  for  a  flag  of 
truce  sent  back  to  Ocracoke  with  a  notice  that  the  entire 
coast  was  declared  in  blockade,  the  doughty  Admiral  Cock- 
burn  troubled  the  State  no  more.  However,  a  period  of 
uncertainty  intervened,  and  for  a  month  Governor  Hawkins 
was  visiting  the  fortifications  along  the  coast,  and  General 
Jones  was  watching  with  vigilance  for  the  return  of  the 

Enterprise  of  the  people 

But  the  alarms  of  war  did  not  stifle  the  enterprise  of  the 
people.  On  June  6,  1813,  the  Clarendon  Steamboat  Com¬ 
pany  was  formed  for  the  Cape  Fear  River.  In  a  few 

The  State 






Iron  mills 

Biog.  Hist., 
IV,  310-311 




hours  $12,000  was  subscribed  at  Wilmington  and  $10,000 
at  Fayetteville ;  and  farther  northward  a  line  of  stages  was 
put  on  from  Elizabeth  City  to  Portsmouth,  Va.,  yet  the 
Public  Safety  Committee  at  Wilmington  presented  a  me¬ 
morial  to  the  Governor  urging  preparations  for  defense, 
and  the  Governor  appointed  John  H.  Bryan  Quartermaster- 
General  and  Gabriel  Holmes,  Inspector-General  of  the  de¬ 
tached  militia  of  the  State. 

The  first  cotton  mill 

Lincoln  County  has  the  distinction  of  starting  up  the 
first  cotton  mill  that  was  successful  south  of  the  Potomac 
and  it  also  was  early  in  iron  manufacture.  John  Fulen- 
wider,  an  educated  engineer  of  Wales,  having  located  in 
Lincoln  County,  began  there  the  development  of  the  iron 
industry,  erecting  furnaces  and  rolling  mills  and  operating 
the  first  nail  machine  ever  used  in  America.  During  the 
war  of  1812-14  he  supplied  cannon  balls  for  the  use  of  the 
army.  In  the  same  vicinity  John  Hoke,  associated  with  a 
neighbor,  Michael  Schenck,  erected  in  1813  the  first  cotton 
mill  and  operated  it  successfully,  and  it  was  continued  by 
their  families  until  the  War  Between  the  States.  Among 
the  descendants  of  John  Hoke  were  Michael  Hoke,  General 
Hoke  and  Chief  Justice  Hoke. 

While  perils  were  threatening  New  Bern,  Hannah  Gaston, 
the  wife  of  William  Gaston,  died  on  July  13,  leaving  several 
infant  children,  but  Gaston  was  at  his  post  at  Washing¬ 
ton.  Speaking  on  Webster’s  resolution  on  July  19,  he  said: 
‘‘It  will  not  be  deemed  egotism,  I  trust,  to  add  that  bap¬ 
tised  an  American  in  the  blood  of  a  murdered  father; 
bound  to  my  native  land  by  every  moral  and  natural  tie  that 
can  fasten  on  the  heart  of  man  ;  with  not  one  motive  of  in¬ 
terest,  of  passion,  or  prejudice  to  seduce  the  loyalty  of  my 
affections ;  never  can  I  separate  myself  from  the  cause  of 
my  country,  however  that  cause  may  have  been  betrayed  by 
those  to  whose  care  it  was  confided.” 

s  s  irg” - . . . . .  . .  . . . . . ""  «■■»» «■ .  . . — li  a  a 

1.  The  Fries  Cotton  Mill  at  Salem 

2.  Michael  Schenck-Hoke  Cotton  Mill  at  Lincolnton,  1813 

3.  Spinning  Wheel  and  Loom 

0  0  l*""  .  i"  7i  hi  ~ . i~ . . -  Q  (T) 



The  year  1814  opened  with  the  war  still  flagrant.  The 
British  fleet  had  possession  of  the  Chesapeake  Bay  and 
threatened  every  point  on  the  coast.  Still  the  situation  did 
not  interrupt  the  accustomed  life  of  the  people.  In 
February  the  stay  law  expired,  and  no  hardships  seemed  to 
result.  The  academies  that  dotted  nearly  every  county  in 
the  State  were  not  closed.  An  orphan  asylum  had  been 
organized  at  Fayetteville  and  the  North  Carolina  Bible  So¬ 
ciety  formed.  In  Lenoir  County  a  military  and  literary 
society  had  been  incorporated,  and  Thespian  associations 
organized  at  Salisbury,  Raleigh,  and  Fayetteville,  and  at 
Wilmington  the  Thalian  Society  that  continued  its  existence 
many  years.  But  the  war  had  its  incidents.  In  October, 
1812,  just  off  the  coast  of  North  Carolina  an  engagement 
took  place  between 'the  British  ship  Frolic  and  the  American 
sloop  Wasp.  The  battle  was  so  fierce  that  when  the  Ameri¬ 
can  captors  boarded  the  Frolic  to  haul  down  the  British 
flag,  .they  found  no  one  on  deck  but  the  helmsman ;  the  sur¬ 
vivors  had  retired  below.  Preparations  were  made  along 
the  coast  for  defense.  At  Wilmington  a  committee  of 
safety  of  which  Robert  Cochran  was  president,  with  the 
concurrence  of  the  military  authorities  and  Governor  Haw¬ 
kins,  purchased  Clark’s  Island,  four  miles  below  the  town, 
taking  title  to  the  Governor  of  the  State,  and  erecting  forti¬ 
fications  on  it  at  a  cost  of  over  two  thousand  dollars.  After 
the  war  the  Legislature  directed  the  Governor  to  convey 
the  title  to  Cochran  in  trust  to  repay  the  persons  who 
originally  furnished  the  funds  expended.  On  the  land, 
generally,  the  military  operations  had  been  unfortunate  and 
inglorious,  but  notwithstanding  Mr.  Macon’s  aversion  to 
naval  operations,  on  the  sea  it  was  otherwise.  The  flag 
was  often  borne  to  glorious  victory.  In  these  glories  North 
Carolina  had  her  share. 




The  Wasp 
takes  the 



The  Snap 



June,  1814 

On  the  sea 

Otway  Burns  made  application  for  letters  of  marque 
dated  July  i,  1813,  specifying  that  the  Snap  Dragon  was 
147  tons,  carried  a  crew  of  75  men,  5  carriage  guns  and  50 
muskets.  In  a  subsequent  voyage  he  carried  127  men. 
She  ranged  from  Newfoundland  to  South  America.  Dur¬ 
ing  the  first  seven  months  of  1814  she  captured  2  barks, 
5  brigs,  and  3  schooners,  the  cargoes  being  valued  at  one 
million  dollars ;  and  she  took  250  prisoners.  But  at  length 
Captain  Burns  being  laid  up,  the  commission  was  given  to 
Lieutenant  DeWhaley,  who  in  an  encounter  with  the  British 
man  of  war  Leopard  was  with  many  of  the  crew  slain  and 
the  vessel  surrendered.  The  Snap  Dragon  was  conveyed  to 
England  and  the  crew  confined  in  Dartmoor  prison. 

Another  naval  officer  of  great  renown  was  Capt.  John¬ 
son  Blakely.  Born  in  Ireland,  his  father  had  brought  him 
to  Wilmington  while  a  boy.  His  parents  having  died,  and 
he  having  inherited  some  means,  he  was  brought  into  court 

to  select  a  guardian.  He  selected  his  father’s  friend,  Col. 

,  « 

Edward  Jones,  himself  an  Irishman,  the  distinguished 
Attorney-General  of  the  State.  Colonel  Jones  had  him 
well  educated  at  Flatbush,  Long  Island,  and  at  the  Univer¬ 
sity,  and  in  1800  secured  his  appointment  in  the  naval 
service.  He  served  in  an  expedition  against  the  Barbary 
States  and  became  an  officer  of  recognized  merit.  Com¬ 
manding  the  Wasp  in  Tune,  1814,  he  appeared  off  the  coast 
of  England  and  in  a  fierce  engagement  captured  the  British 
sloop  of  war  Reindeer.  Burning  his  prize,  in  August  he 
fell  in  with  the  ship  Avon,  which  he  captured,  but  he  was 
driven  off  by  the  near  approach  of  several  other  men  of  war. 
He  then,  in  two  weeks,  took  fifteen  British  vessels.  On  one 
of  these  prizes,  he  placed  a  crew  and  sent  dispatches  home, 
which  came  safely,  but  that  was  the  last  known  of  the 
Wasp.  The  gallant  Blakely  and  his  crew  perished  at  sea. 
In  November  the  private  armed  schooner  Saratoga  arrived  at 



Wilmington  from  a  cruise  in  the  British  Channel,  and 
brought  papers  with  accounts  of  the  battle  between  the 
Wasp  and  Avon.  The  London  papers  made  great  com¬ 
plaints  of  the  injury  suffered  from  American  privateers, 
“which  are  so  audacious  as  to  take  British  vessels  and  prop¬ 
erty  at  their  very  doors.” 

Failures  on  land 

The  campaign  at  the  northwest  had  never  been  satisfac¬ 
torily  conducted.  General  after  general  in  that  region  had 
ignominiously  failed.  It  was  during  that  period  of  despond¬ 
ency  that  Archibald  Murphey  wrote:  “I  pray  God  to  give 
us  peace,  and  save  us  from  further  disgrace.  We  shall  get 
out  of  the  war  loaded  with  debt  and  taxes,  defeat  and  dis¬ 
grace.”  And  some  of  the  people  became  dispirited.  The 
war  spirit  gave  place  to  peace  sentiment.  Opposition  to 
the  administration  strongly  developed.  Indeed,  the  Fed¬ 
erate  in  North  Carolina  were  exulting  in  their  hopes  and 
eagerly  dispatched  the  news  northward.  Yancey  at  Wash¬ 
ington  wrote  to  Ruffin :  “The  Federals  here  are  in  fine 
spirits  from  the  information  they  have  received  from  their 
friends  in  our  State.  They  expect  the  whole  State  with 
the  exception  of  one  or  two  members  will  be  Federal.”  At 
length,  however,  in  General  Brown  a  more  fortunate  cam¬ 
paigner  was  found.  Early  in  July,  1814,  he  brought  on 
the  battle  of  Chippewa,  routing  the  British,  and,  after  other 
advantageous  movements,  the  battle  of  Lundy’s  Lane, 
within  half  a  mile  of  Niagara  Falls.  Few  encounters  have 
ever  been  more  sanguinary.  Both  sides  retired  from  the 
field  satisfied  with  the  slaughter,  but  the  tide  was  turned. 
Brig.  Gen.  Winfield  Scott  was  the  hero  of  the  campaign. 
General  Swift,  in  his  History  of  New  York,  however, 
awards  the  credit  of  that  campaign  to  Capt.  William  Mc- 
Ree  of  the  Engineers,  who,  it  was  said,  planned  the  details. 
Captain  McRee  was  of  the  Bladen  and  New  Hanover 
family,  distinguished  in  several  generations  for  intellectu¬ 
ality  and  manhood  as  for  high  personal  character. 

July,  1814 




July  16, 

Biog.  Hist., 
VII,  102 



Another  North  Carolina  army  officer  won  fame,  Benjamin 
Forsyth  of  Stokes  County.  In  1809,  having  received  a 
commission  as  captain  in  the  army,  he  was  assigned  to  the 
command  of  a  company  in  the  Rifle  Regiment  and  was 
serving  at  the  north  in  1812.  In  September,  1812,  he  em¬ 
barked  with  100  men  at  Cape  Vincent  on  the  St.  Lawrence 
and  fell  down  the  river  to  Leeds,  and  destroyed  the  British 
storehouse  there  and  successfully  returned,  bringing  a  large 
supply  of  captured  military  stores.  In  the  following  Feb¬ 
ruary,  with  two  hundred  men  in  ships,  he  left  Ogdensburg 
and  proceeded  up  the  river  and,  crossing  over  to  Elizabeth¬ 
town,  took  52  prisoners  and  a  considerable  quantity  of 
munitions,  without  the  loss  of  a  man.  After  various  other 
encounters  he  was  commissioned  Lieutenant  Colonel,  but  un¬ 
happily  fell  in  a  skirmish  near  Odeltown.  A  plan  had  been 
devised  to  draw  the  British  into  an  ambuscade.  Forsyth 
was  directed  to  attack  and  retreat,  and  thus  draw  the 
enemy  on,  but  in  the  encounter  he  fell,  the  only  man  in  his 
command  who  was  killed.  “He  was  a  terror  to  the  enemy, 
and  among  the  best  partisan  officers  who  ever  lived.”  He 
left  a  son  and  four  daughters.  The  Legislature  directed 
that  the  son,  James*  N.  Forsyth,  should  be  educated  at  the 
expense  of  the  State  and  be  presented  with  a  sword.  Later 
he  became  a  midshipman,  and  unhappily  he  perished  at 
sea  in  the  wreck  of  the  Hornet  in  1829  before  he  was 
twenty-one  years  of  age.  The  county  of  Forsyth  was  in 
1849  named  in  honor  of  Col.  Benjamin  Forsyth.  And  sim¬ 
ilarly,  the  Legislature  which  had  during  his  life  directed 
a  sword  to  be  presented  to  Blakely,  now  made  another  pro¬ 
vision  ;  the  gallant  seaman  had  left  only  one  child,  a  daugh¬ 
ter,  LTlna ;  she  too  was  adopted  by  the  State ;  an  appropria¬ 
tion  was  made  for  her  education,  and,  in  lieu  of  the  sword, 
a  set  of  silver  plate  was  presented  to  her.  She  went  with 
her  mother  to  St.  Croix  in  the  West  Indies,  where  she  mar¬ 
ried  ;  but  soon  after  died. 



The  Indians 

The  Indians  had  been  stirred  up  by  a  fanatical  prophet, 
Tecumseh,  who  was  killed  in  the  great  battle  of  Chip¬ 
pewa;  and  the  Cherokees  and  Creeks  in  Alabama  and  Geor¬ 
gia  now  began  hostilities,  and  the  settlers,  many  from  North 
Carolina,  took  refuge  in  Fort  Minims,  on  the  Chattahoochee 
River.  The  Indians  having  succeeded  in  taking  this  fort, 
where  there  were  553  whites,  massacred  them,  only  five 
or  six  escaping.  This  aroused  the  whole  southern  country 
to  action  while  the  whites  virtually  abandoned  Alabama. 
The  militia  of  Tennessee  and  Georgia  and  Louisiana  and 
Mississippi  hurried  forward.  Andrew  Jackson,  a  general 
of  militia  in  Tennessee,  hastened  to  the  scene  and  a  thousand 
North  Carolinians  from  the  western  counties,  under  Gen. 
Joseph  Graham,  rushed  to  his  assistance.  Jackson,  how¬ 
ever,  had  defeated  the  Indians  in  a  great  battle  at  Horse 
Shoe  Bend  before  Graham  reached  him,  but  Graham’s  North 
Carolinians  assisted  in  capturing  those  who  were  still  in 
arms.  Jackson  was  quickly  appointed  Major  General  in  the 
army  of  the  United  States  and  given  command  at  the  South. 
It  was  the  beginning  of  his  phenomenal  career. 

The  Albemarle  militia  goes  to  Norfolk 

Norfolk  being  again  threatened  in  the  fall  of  1814,  the 
President  made  a  requisition  on  North  Carolina  for  a  de¬ 
tachment  of  militia  to  be  mustered  into  the  service  of  the 
United  States  and  to  hold  Norfolk.  Some  fifteen  hundred 
of  the  militia  were  concentrated  at  Gates  Courthouse.  They 
were  from  the  Albemarle  district,  including  the  counties  of 
Halifax,  Warren  and  Nash.  Gen.  Calvin  Jones  was  the 
quartermaster.  The  detachment  assembled  at  Gates  Court¬ 
house  towards  the  end  of  September  and,  under  the  com¬ 
mand  of  Gen.  Jeremiah  Slade  and  unarmed,  marched  in 
detachments  to  Norfolk,  where  they  were  mustered  into 
the  service  of  the  United  States.  There  they  remained  for 

Fort  Minims 






Winborne : 
county  of 



I,  154 

Allen:  Hist, 
of  Halifax, 



weeks,  ready  and  waiting  for  the  enemy.  They  were  spec¬ 
tators  of  the  battle  of  Craney  Island,  where  the  British  fleet 
was  driven  back.  They  were  not  entirely  disbanded  until 
the  treaty  of  peace. 

The  second  regiment 

In  addition  to  the  first  regiment  that  marched  from  Gates 
Courthouse  to  Norfolk,  a  second  regiment  was  organized 
at  Hillsboro,  November  28,  1814,  composed  of  companies 
from  Chatham,  Person,  Caswell,  Rockingham,  Guilford, 
Randolph,  Stokes,  Surry  and  Wilkes,  of  which  Col.  Richard 
Atkinson  of  Person  was  the  lieutenant-colonel  commanding, 
and  James  Campbell  was  first  major.  This  new  regiment 
reached  Norfolk  on  December  27.  The  troops  were  pro¬ 
vided  with  thin  tents  and  it  was  some  weeks  before  they 
were  housed,  and  they  suffered  from  the  irregularity  with 
which  they  were  supplied  with  wood  and  other  necessaries. 
These  troops  fell  victims  to  disease.  “At  the  Peach  Orchard 
where  the  first  regiment  was  stationed,  there  were  61  deaths 
by  December  7,  but  in  the  second  regiment  while  276 
were  on  the  sick  list,  only  8  had  so  far  died."  The  second 
regiment  was  at  camp  about  a  mile  out  of  the  city.  Captain 
Young’s  company  was  stationed  at  Craney  Island. 

After  the  capture  of  Washington  City  and  the  repulse  of 
the  British  at  Baltimore,  the  British  admiral  apparently  pro¬ 
posed  the  capture  of  Norfolk,  but  when  he  was  ready,  he 
found  the  Americans  also  ready.  He  entered  Elizabeth 
River,  opened  a  bombardment  on  Craney  Island,  but  being 
repulsed,  sailed  away. 

The  North  Carolina  troops  soon  afterwards  returned  to 
the  State.  While  the  troops  suffered  from  the  dreadful 
sickness  which  carried  off  so  many  of  the  First  Regiment, 
Hiey  lost  none  in  battle. 


Stone's  retirement 

Now  occurred  the  tragic  ending  of  a  career  that  had  been 
exceptionally  brilliant.  Perhaps  no  other  native  had  been 
so  favored  by  fortune  as  David  Stone.  In  December,  1812, 
he  had  been  elected  the  second  time  as  United  States  Senator 
and  necessarily  he  was  expected  to  support  the  war  meas¬ 
ures  of  the  administration,  a  course,  however,  he  declined  to 
follow.  He  seems  to  have  fallen  under  the  influence  of 
Massachusetts's  disloyal  leadership,  and  when  the  Assembly 
met  in  November,  1813,  so  shocked  and  outraged  were  the 
Republican  members  of  the  body,  that  resolutions  were  in¬ 
troduced  reciting  the  several  tergiversations  imputed  to 
him ;  that  he  had  voted  against  the  direct  tax  to  support  the 
war,  against  the  embargo,  against  prohibiting  illicit  inter¬ 
course  and  correspondence  by  the  British  Tories  with  the 
Indian  enemies  under  British  dominance,  and  against  the 
appointment  of  Gallatin  as  Ambassador  to  Russia. 

Senator  Stone  attended  at  Raleigh,  and  he  later  asserted 
that  his  purpose  was  to  resign  and  retire  to  private  life,  but 
he  found  so  much  excitement  prevailing  that  it  forbade  him 
from  entrusting  the  Assembly  with  the  election  of  a  new 
Senator,  so  he  held  on.  A  joint  committee  of  the  two 
houses  on  December  13,  1813,  brought  in  a  report  stating  isi3 
his  defection  from  the  administration,  although  elected  as 
a  supporter  of  the  war,  and  closing  with  the  resolution : 

“That  the  said  David  Stone  hath  disappointed  the  reasonable 
expectations  and  incurred  the  disapprobation  of  this  Gen¬ 
eral  Assembly.”  This  resolution  was  adopted  by  a  small 
majority  in  each  house.  Fourteen  Senators  protested  Bi  HUt 
against  it,  among  them  Archibald  D.  Murphey,  and  in  the  IV>  422 
House  42  protested,  among  them  Duncan  Cameron,  James 
Iredell,  Maurice  Moore,  Paul  Barringer  and  William  Boy- 
lan.  The  line  between  the  Republicans  and  Federalists  was 
drawn.  The  Federalists  in  the  State  were  following  Massa¬ 
chusetts.  When  the  Legislature  was  about  to  meet  in 




Death  of 

I,  77 

November,  1814,  Senator  Stone  placed  his  resignation  in  the 
hands  of  Governor  Hawkins,  who  laid  it  before  the  House 
on  December  5.  Thus  ended  a  phenomenal  career.  Gov¬ 
ernor  Stone  retired  to  a  farm  in  the  vicinity  of  Raleigh,  and 
four  years  later  died  there  at  the  age  of  44  years. 

When  the  Assembly  met  in  November,  1814,  there  were 
several  vacant  positions  open  to  the  ambitious.  Judge 
Locke,  after  ten  years  service,  had  resigned  from  the  bench 
and  Duncan  Cameron  had  been  appointed  by  the  Governor 
to  fill  the  vacancy ;  now  the  Legislature  was  to  elect.  Gov¬ 
ernor  Hawkins’s  term  had  expired  and  a  new  Governor 
was  to  be  chosen.  And  Senator  Stone  had  at  last  resigned 
in  a  dramatic  way. 

The  usual  custom  of  elections  was  now  varied.  The  houses 
having  chosen  their  former  speakers,  agreed  to  ballot  foi 
a  judge,  but  before  the  voting  began,  the  proposition  was 
reconsidered  and  a  caucus  was  held.  Then  a  ^sub-caucus” 
was  held,  at  which  it  was  agreed  to  elect  Miller  Governor, 
and  James  Mebane  Senator.  Later,  since  Outlaw  wished 
to  be  Governor,  in  the  interest  of  Miller  it  was  proposed  to 
substitute  Outlaw  for  Mebane  in  the  Senate,  but  the  caucus 
was  not  strong  enough.  Cameron  was  elected  judge,  and 
Locke  U.  S.  Senator ;  Miller,  however,  won  the  Governor’s 
office.  The  first  ballot  stood,  .Miller  95,  Outlaw  10,  and 
Col.  William  Polk,  a  Federalist,  83.  There  was  some  inad¬ 
vertence  in  the  count,  and  it  was  held  “no  election.”  Mur¬ 
phey,  a  Senator,  wrote  that  if  the  election  had  been  post¬ 
poned  a  day,  Outlaw  would  have  been  chosen,  but  for  him¬ 
self,  he  could  not  vote  for  either  of  them.  And  singularly 
enough,  while  Francis  Locke  was  elected  U.  S  Senator,  he 
never  qualified.  The  seat  remained  vacant. 


The  Hartford  Convention 


The  Hartford  Convention. — The  Federal  party  falls  into  odium. 

— The  victory  at  New  Orleans. — The  Treaty  of  Peace. — Republi¬ 
cans  in  ascendancy. — The  poor  conditions  in  the  State. — Emi¬ 
gration. — The  Quakers. — No  free  schools. — Governor  Miller’s  mes¬ 
sage. — Murphey’s  reports. — The  Legislature  acts. — The  Statue  of 
Washington. — Macon  Senator,  Gaston  in  the  House. — The  Coloni¬ 
zation  Society. — Branch  Governor. — Internal  Improvements. — 

The  New  Bern  Steamboat  Company. — Public  instruction. — Mur¬ 
phey’s  plan.— Inland  navigation. — Financial  conditions. — The 
Cherokee  lands  acquired. — Yadkin  canal. — The  penitentiary. 

>  ew  England  holds  a  convention 

The  war  in  Europe  had  ceased  with  the  battle  of  Waterloo 
and  Great  Britain’s  hands  were  now  free  to  conquer  Amer¬ 
ica.  Our  peace  commissioners  had  met  those  of  Great 
Britain,  but  our  haughty  foe  sought  to  impose  dishonorable 
terms  as  if  she  had  already  won  the  war.  When  these  re¬ 
quirements  were  communicated  to  Congress  and  made  public 
a  wave  of  indignation  and  of  patriotic  ardor  swept  over 
the  country,  except  alone  in  New  England;  there  disloyalty 
prevailed.  In  1814  the  Legislature  of  Massachusetts  rec¬ 
ommended  that  a  convention  of  delegates  from  the  New 
England  States  should  be  held,  and  at  once  set  the  example 
of  appointing  twelve  delegates.  The  Legislatures  of  Rhode 
Island  and  Connecticut  followed  by  appointing  their  dele¬ 
gates,  but  Vermont  and  New  Hampshire  did  not  concur. 
On  November  24,  1814,  Murphey  wrote  to  Ruffin:  “I  be¬ 
lieve  the  government  is  on  the  brink  of  dissolution.  New 
England  is  determined  on  her  course  and  I  see  nothing 
that  can  arrest  it.  Augur  no  good  from  the  votes  of  New 
Hampshire  and  Vermont.  All  the  northern  states  will  con¬ 
federate  and,  having  amended  the  Constitution,  leave  it 
to  us  to  unite  with  them  or  not.  My  spirits  are  depressed. 
I  see  nothing  but  ruin  and  confusion  before  us.” 


Hoyt : 
Papers,  I,  76 



The  New  England  Convention  met  at  Hartford  on  Dej 
cember  15.  There  were  twenty-six  delegates  in  attendance, 
among  them  one  from  Vermont  and  two  from  New  Hamp¬ 
shire.  They  sat  with  closed  doors,  their  proceedings  being 
veiled  in  secrecy.  On  January  4,  1815,  they  published  a 
report  recommending  seven  amendments  to  the  Constitution ; 
that  representation  should  be  based  on  the  white  population ; 
that  the  President  should  not  be  elected  from  the  same  state 
two  terms  in  succession;  and,  further,  that  the  legislatures, 
of  the  states  represented  in  the  Convention  should  adopt 
measures  to  protect  their  citizens  from  certain  acts  of 
Congress.  The  resolutions  recommended  were  later  adopted 
by  Massachusetts,  Rhode  Island  and  Connecticut. 

The  language  used  by  the  Convention  admitted  the  con¬ 
struction  that  the  Convention  proposed  to  dissolve  the 
Union;  but  in  any  light,  a  combination  was  formed  the 
„  effect  of  which  was  to  enfeeble  the  government  in  the  hour 

History  of  Gf  cpre  necessitv '  and  to  encourage  the  hopes  and  projects 

U.  S.,  Ill, 

400  of  the  enemy.  The  Convention  was  the  work  of  New 

England  Federalists  and  its  action  was  so  repugnant  to 
American  principles  that  it  turned  the  patriotic  hearts  of 
the  people  from  the  Federal  party.  That  party  fell  into 
odium  and  eventually  became  moribund. 

While  the  Hartford  Convention  was  in  progress  a  Treaty 
of  Peace  was  signed  at  Ghent  on  December  24,  but  nearly 
two  months  passed  before  the  news  reached  America. 



The  victory  at  New  Orleans 

In  September  some  fifteen  thousand  British  troops,  no 
longer  needed  in  Europe,  had  been  dispatched  to  take  New 
Orleans  and  Mobile.  Andrew  Jackson  was  in  command 
of  that  part  of  the  Union.  He  was  well  sustained  by  the 
Southern  people.  On  the  8th  of  January  he  met  the 
enemy  and  was  the  victor.  It  was  the  most  glorious  battle 
fought  during  the  war.  The  repulse  of  the  British  veterans 
was  overwhelming.  Now  despondency  gave  place  to  high 



elation.  Patriotic  ardor  stirred  the  breast  of  every  true 
American.  However,  a  month  later  the  news  of  the  treaty 
reached  Washington.  On  February  1,  the  treaty  having 
been  received,  was  ratified,  and  the  good  news  flew  through 
the  country.  America  had  won  the  war.  Blessed  peace 
had  come!  and  what  was  called  the  Second  War  for  Amer¬ 
ican  Independence  had  ended  in  a  blaze  of  glory. 

Toward  the  end  of  the  war  feeling  had  not  been  favor¬ 
able  to  the  administration.  The  flight  of  the  President,  the 
capture  of  Washington  City,  the  burning  of  the  Capitol  and 
the  inadequate  provision  made  for  defense  were  heavy 
weights  for  the  administration  leaders  to  carry.  Indeed, 
Macon  had  not  been  a  cordial  supporter  of  war  measures, 
while  the  Federalists  had  been  urgent  in  opposition.  But 
the  war  had  terminated  fortunately,  and  as  the  wave  of 
rejoicing  swept  over  the  country,  the  people  turned  again 
to  the  support  of  the  Administration.  In  North  Carolina, 
Republicans  continued  in  control  of  the  Assembly  and  re¬ 
gained  several  of  the  Congressional  districts  they  had  pre¬ 
viously  lost.  John  R.  Donnell,  writing  to  Thomas  Ruffin, 
congratulated  him  “on  the  unexpected  triumphs  of  our  Re¬ 
publican  friends  in  almost  every  part  of  the  State  in  the 
late  Congressional  canvass.”  It  was  indeed  the  end  of 
the  Federal  party  in  the  State;  after  this,  the  odium  into 
which  the  New  England  Federalists  had  fallen  bore  so  heav¬ 
ily  on  their  friends  that  their  southern  confreres  generally 
withdrew  from  them.  Indeed,  they  became  stigmatized  as 
“Blue  Light  Federalists,”  the  reference  being  to  the  allega¬ 
tion  that  when  our  naval  vessels,  the  Macedonian  and  the 
United  States,  were  attempting  to  pass  to  sea  at  night  from 
New  London,  their  escape  was  frustrated  by  means  of  blue 
light  signals,  used  by  traitors  to  warn  the  blockading 
British  fleet. 


The  Federal¬ 
ists  odious 

Ruffin,  I, 

The  Blue 




Conditions  in  1815 

A  view  of  conditions  in  the  State  at  this  period,  how¬ 
ever,  presents  a  picture  far  from  inspiring.  As  listed  for 
taxation  by  the  proprietors,  the  general  average  of  land 
value  was  about  $1.33  an  acre.  In  Northampton  and  Hali¬ 
fax  it  was  about  $5.00.  In  the  northern  central  counties, 
from  Orange,  east  and  west,  it  was  higher  than  in  any  other 
section,  while  in  some  of  the  long  settled  eastern  counties 
it  was  very  low,  perhaps  because  of  the  uncleared  swamps 
and  worthless  savanna  lands,  as  in  New  Hanover,  where 
it  was  only  about  sixty  cents  an  acre.  But  the  commissioners 
to  assess  land  for  the  United  States  direct  taxes  for  the  year 
1815  estimated  the  average  value  at  $2.60,  almost  twice  as 
much  as  that  given  in  for  State  taxation.  The  valuation  of 
slaves  in  the  counties  shows  that  in  Caswell,  Person,  Gran¬ 
ville,  Nash,  Franklin,  and  Warren  the  slaves  were  more 
valuable  than  the  land,  and  in  Wilkes,  Iredell,  Rowan,  Meck¬ 
lenburg,  Lincoln,  Burke  and  other  western  counties,  the 
slaves  were  valued  at  more  than  half  that  of  the  land. 


The  handicap  of  the  western  counties  was  their  inade¬ 
quate  transportation  facilities ;  while  the  eastern  ports  were 
deprived  of  the  trade  of  the  interior  since  the  most  accessible 
markets  for  the  west  were  in  South  Carolina  and  Virginia. 
One  of  the  first  great  turnpikes  was  from  Morganton  by 
way  of  Kings  Mountain  to  Charleston,  S.  C. ;  others  led 
toward  Petersburg,  and  further  east  Norfolk  was  the  easiest 
market.  The  general  effect  was  to  keep  the  value  of  the 
The  markets  products  of  the  west  at  a  low  point  and  to  limit  the  trade 
of  the  merchants  of  the  east,  who  thus  made  no  profit  either 
in  handling  the  exported  products  or  in  supplying  the  in¬ 
terior  with  necessaries.  The  profits  accrued  to  the  mer¬ 
chants  of  Virginia  and  South  Carolina,  and  it  was  con¬ 
sidered  that  they  amounted  to  about  half  a  million  of  dollars 



each  year.  As  a  result  of  these  conditions,  there  was  but 
little  cash  accumulated  through  enterprise  and  industry; 
nor  were  there  many  channels  open  for  the  investment  of 
money.  Indeed,  the  only  investment,  other  than  negroes 
and  lands,  seems  to  have  been  bank  stock. 

No  record  was  kept  of  coastwise  shipments,  but  it  appears 
that  the  foreign  exports  of  all  the  other  North  Carolina 
ports  were  only  about  one-third  those  of  Wilmington,  for  the 
produce  of  the  northeastern  counties  went  chiefly  to 
Virginia.  Towards  the  south  it  was  different.  Fayette¬ 
ville,  at  the  head  of  water  transportation  on  the  Cape  Fear, 
was  the  center  of  a  considerable  trade,  and  was  the  most 
populous,  wealthiest  and  most  important  town  in  the  State. 
Domestic  produce  shipped  by  Fayetteville  in  1816  included 
2,337  hogsheads  of  tobacco;  8,252  bales  of  cotton;  11,813 
bushels  of  wheat;  12,962  barrels  of  flour;  5,164  casks  flax 
seed;  29,761  gallons  of  spirits  of  turpentine,  the  whole  ag¬ 
gregating  $1,331,368.  Wilmington’s  export  trade  for  six 
months  of  the  same  year,  included  lumber,  $157,290;  naval 
stores,  $131,000;  products  of  agriculture,  $1,112,300. 

Prices  of  merchandise  were  high.  Dr.  Battle,  with  the 
books  of  a  mercantile  firm  at  Raleigh  before  him,  wrote  as 
to  values  in  1815:  “I  have  a  guilty  sensation,  like  that  of 
an  eavesdropper,  in  seeing  what  the  belles  and  beaux  of  that 
period  were  accustomed  to  buy ;  ribbons  and  combs,  and 
calicoes,  silk  handkerchiefs,  teas  and  coffee  and  (shall  I  tell 
on  them?)  brandy  and  rum.  A  dozen  needles  cost  25  cents, 
a  silk  handkerchief,  bandana,  $1.25,  a  muslin  handker¬ 
chief  70  cents ;  a  yard  of  broadcloth  $7.00 ;  a  pound  of  pepper 
70  cents;  a  pair  of  cotton  hose  $1.40;  a  dozen  pewter  plates 
$4.50;  a  pound  of  hyson  tea  $2.50;  a  yard  of  linen  70  cents; 
a  pound  of  gunpowder  $1.00,  and  a  pound  of  shot  15  cents. 
Nails  were  sold  by  number,  fifty  ten-penny  nails  for  15 
cents.  Brandy  was  cheaper,  $1.60  a  gallon,  but  loaf  sugar 
for  sweeting  the  julep  was  45  cents  a  pound.” 


Flax  seed, 
flour,  etc. 







At  that  period  there  were  looms  in  nearly  every  house  and 
flax  was  converted  into  linen,  wool  into  jersey,  and  cotton 
into  cloth — the  people  dressing  generally  in  homespun. 
The  pine,  along  with  candles  and  oil  lamps,  furnished 
lights.  The  food  was  the  product  of  the  farm  and  gardens 
and  in  every  community  were  potters,  shoemakers,  carpen¬ 
ters  and  others  adept  in  the  various  handicrafts. 


From  the  time  when  the  first  migrations  beyond  the 
mountains  began  there  had  been  removals  to  the  western 
wilderness.  While  this  call  found  response  in  the  frontier 
and  central  counties,  it  also  led  to  a  considerable  movement 
even  from  the  sea  coast  region.  A  notable  instance  had 
occurred  in  1800.  There  were  two  original  settlements  of 
Quakers  in  the  State,  one  in  the  Albemarle  section,  and 
one,  later,  from  Pennsylvania  and  Maryland  and  even 
Massachusetts  in  the  western  counties,  with  the  center  at 
New  Garden.  Also  a  considerable  number  of  Friends  had 
located  in  Jones  County  and  the  contiguous  territory  form¬ 
ing  what  was  known  as  the  Contentnea  Quarter.  In  1800 
all  of  that  Quaker  settlement  removed  to  Ohio,  and  from 
that  time  onward  there  were  movements  from  New  Garden 
and  from  Albemarle  to  the  country  north  of  the  Ohio  River. 
While  the  spirit  of  enterprise  and  hope  of  advantage  were 
controlling  motives,  yet  disapproval  of  slavery  was  likewise 
a  factor.  Many  of  the  Quakers,  being  opposed  to  slavery, 
sought  homes  where  it  did  not  exist.  But  the  loss  of  popu¬ 
lation  by  the  removal  of  the  Quakers  was  slight  in  com¬ 
parison  to  that  occasioned  by  the  exodus  of  others  to  the 
new  lands  now  open  to  entry.  Thousands  of  the  German 
Lutherans,  and  some  of  the  Guilford  Quakers,  moved  north 
of  the  Ohio,  while  the  more  eastern  emigrants  went  south 
and  west.  The  movement  was  induced  by  the  little  cost 
of  entry  and  the  speedy  increase  in  value  by  the  great  stream 
of  immigrants  rushing  in  to  possess  the  lands.  The  white 



population  during  the  previous  decade  had  increased  but  12 
per  cent,  whereas  a  normal  increase  would  have  been  be¬ 
tween  16  and  20  per  cent.  Indeed  the  free  blacks  increased 
through  emancipation  45  per  cent  while  there  had  been  an 
increase  in  slaves  of  25  per  cent,  although  many  of  the  whites 
going  to  the  south  carried  their  negroes  with  them. 

As  the  transportation  facilities  throughout  the  State 
were  very  poor  the  western  counties  found  their  most 
convenient  markets  in  South  Carolina  and  Virginia.  It 
was  to  remedy  this  condition  that  continued  efforts  were 
made  to  open  the  water-courses  to  transportation ;  and  turn¬ 
pikes  were  chartered  here  and  there  at  the  west,  allowing 
tolls  to  be  charged  for  their  use.  Living  conditions  in  the 
interior  must  indeed  have  been  discouraging,  produce  yield¬ 
ing  but  small  returns  for  industry,  while  prices  of  necessa¬ 
ries  brought  from  abroad  were  high. 

Ko  free  schools 

As  yet  the  State  had  not  engaged  in  public  education ;  and 
although  there  was  a  multiplication  of  academies,  the  policy 
of  free  schools  had  not  been  adopted.  Indeed,  while  Massa¬ 
chusetts  had  early  required  her  townships  to  maintain  schools 
at  which  indigents  might  be  taught,  these  schools  were 
largely  supported  by  the  individual  patrons.  It  does  not 
appear  that  even  as  late  as  1815  there  was  in  any  state  a 
free  school  system  maintained  by  state  taxation.  Connect¬ 
icut  had  in  1795  appropriated  the  proceeds  of  her  lands  in 
Ohio  for  a  school  fund,  but  there  was  no  state  taxation 
for  education,  nor  had  New  York  a  system  of  free  educa¬ 
tion  in  1815.  The  next  year,  however,  that  state  opened 
free  schools,  the  first  ever  sustained  by  general  taxation. 
In  North  Carolina  the  need  for  transportation  being 
pressing,  conditions  were  unfavorable  for  taxation  for 
schools ;  and  despite  the  numerous  academies  conducted  in 
the  counties,  the  number  of  illiterates  increased.  However, 
the  absence  of  free  schools  could  not  have  influenced 

At  the  west 





Dec.,  1816 

Miller  urges 
equality  of 

wealthy,  educated  families  to  remove  into  the  far  wilderness 
where  there  were  no  schools  at  all. 

The  Assembly 

When  the  Assembly  met  Miller  was  continued  as  Gov¬ 
ernor  and  John  Branch  was  chosen  as  Speaker  of  the  Senate. 
Governor  Miller  in  his  message  said :  “The  progress  which 
has  been  made  of  late  in  the  establishment  of  seminaries  for 
the  educating  of  youth  evinces  a  spirit  and  genius  in  the 
people  of  this  State  for  literary  acquirements.  But  so  long 
as  these  establishments  are  left  to  depend  for  support  on 
individual  exertion,  their  beneficial  effects  must  necessarily 
be  partial.  It  is  under  the  fostering  hand  of  legislative 
patronage  alone  that  the  temple  of  science  can  be  thrown 
open  to  all,”  and  he  urged  that  some  plan  should  be  devised 
by  which  “every  member  of  the  community,  no  matter 
how  circumscribed  his  situation,  may  have  an  opportunity 
of  experiencing  the  benefits  of  education.  .  .  .  The  great 
object  of  a  republic,  it  seems  to  me,  should  be  to  keep  all 
the  members  of  the  community,  as  near  as  possible,  on  an 
equality.”  Thus  he  enforced  his  views  for  general  educa¬ 
tion  by  the  State.  He  also  urged  the  improvement  of  roads, 
cutting  canals,  and  opening  the  navigation  of  the  rivers. 

Murphey’s  report 

And  now  Archibald  D.  Murphey,  who  united  intellectu¬ 
ality  with  purpose  in  a  higher  degree  than  any  of  his  con¬ 
temporaries,  became  more  active  than  ever  in  matters  that 
bore  on  the  improvement  of  conditions  in  the  State. 
Murphey  had  been  well  taught  and  had  studied  law  under 
Duffie,  a  gifted  scholar;  and  he  himself  had  directed  the 
law  studies  of  Bartlett  Yancey,  Thomas  Ruffin  and  others 
who  attained  eminence  in  after  life.  He  was  studious,  at¬ 
tentive  to  details  and  thorough  in  the  consideration  of  sub¬ 
jects;  moreover,  he  was  endowed  with  a  lively  imagination 



and  in  his  writings  selected  his  words  with  unusual  felicity. 
He  was  bent  on  State  improvement  rather  than  on  the 
promotion  of  partisan  measures,  nor  was  he  alone  in  such 
purposes,  for  others  were  in  sympathy. 

Murphey  in  his  report  to  the  Assembly  on  Internal  Im¬ 
provements  said :  “Within  25  years  more  than  200,000  of 
our  inhabitants  have  removed  to  the  waters  of  the  Ohio, 
Tennessee  and  Mobile.  Thousands  of  our  wealthy  and 
respectable  citizens  are  annually  moving  to  the  west  in 
quest  of  that  wealth  which  a  rich  soil  and  a  commodious 
navigation  never  fail  to  create  in  a  free  state/’  He  urged 
that  the  opening  of  rivers,  cutting  of  canals  and  making 
turnpikes  were  of  necessary  importance.  He  declared  that 
at  the  end  of  five  years  the  values  of  land,  then  estimated 
at  $53,000,000,  would  be  doubled,  and  the  products,  esti¬ 
mated  at  $30,000,000,  would  reach  ninety  millions,  “that  our 
citizens  would  then  remain  and  our  population  in  twenty 
years  would  be  one  and  a  half  millions.”  While  he  advocated 
improvement  of  all  roads,  he  urged  particularly  cutting 
a  canal  connecting  the  Yadkin  and  Cape  Fear  rivers.  His 
report  was  favorably  received. 

Legislative  action 

In  response  to  these  recommendations  there  was  legis¬ 
lation  to  improve  the  Neuse,  the  Tar,  Yadkin  and  Roanoke 
rivers  and  other  smaller  streams.  In  this  matter  the  As¬ 
sembly  went  to  the  limit  of  its  ability  and  then,  animated 
with  a  desire  to  do  what  was  practicable  in  regard  to  edu¬ 
cating  the  poorer  children,  it  appointed  a  committee  to  re¬ 
port  a  plan  and  system  of  public  instruction ;  and  it  also 
appointed  a  committee  to  report  on  the  advisability  of  estab¬ 
lishing  a  penitentiary,  but  the  House  rejected  the  proposi¬ 
tion  to  hold  a  convention  to  amend  the  Constitution  by  84 
to  34.  The  Governor  was  directed  to  proclaim  a  day  of 
General  Thanksgiving  for  the  successful  ending  of 
the  late  war,  but  commendation  of  the  President  was 

The  migra¬ 



Efforts  for 



Statue  of 

Letters,  VI, 





withheld.  An  act  was  passed  dividing  the  State  into  fifteen 
districts  for  the  election  of  presidential  electors.  As  an 
amendment  of  judicial  procedure  the  judges  were  now 
allowed  to  grant  new  trials  in  criminal  cases.  At  this  ses¬ 
sion,  Governor  Miller  submitted  to  the  Assembly  the  resolu¬ 
tions  of  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut,  the  result  of  the 
Hartford  Convention,  to  amend  the  Constitution  in  several 
particulars,  in  which  the  Assembly  refused  to  concur.  And 
in  contrast  with  the  New  England  spirit,  North  Carolina 
again  sought  to  manifest  her  devotion  to  the  Union  and  to 
inculcate  among  her  citizens  sentiments  of  reverence  for 
the  founder  of  the  republic  by  instructing  the  Governor  to 
have  made  a  statue  of  Washington.  Later  the  Governor 
reported  that  he  had  asked  the  advice  of  Macon  and  all 
of  our  public  men.  Macon  in  turn  had  requested  Jefferson 
to  advise  him.  No  one  was  probably  more  competent. 
Jefferson’s  reply  was  full  and  illustrates  the  extensive  and 
varied  information  of  that  remarkable  man.  He  recom¬ 
mended  that  Canova  be  employed ;  that  the  bust  made  by 
Ceracchi  should  be  the  model,  and  he  elucidated  every  prac¬ 
tical  detail.  His  advice  was  followed,  and  the  contract 
with  Canova  was  made. 

In  August,  1815,  Macon ‘had  as  usual  been  returned  to  the 
House,  and  when,  on  December  4,  the  House  met,  was  in 
his  seat  at  Washington.  Francis  Locke,  however,  had 
resigned  as  senator ;  indeed  he  had  never  qualified ;  and 
the  Assembly  now  cast  about  to  fill  the  place  made  vacant 
by  Stone’s  retirement.  No  one  in  the  State  was  in  the 
same  sphere  as  Nathaniel  Macon  and  he  was  chosen. 
He  had  for  a  quarter  of  a  century  been  the  leader  of  the 
North  Carolina  delegation,  and  of  his  integrity,  candor 
and  patriotism  no  one  doubted.  He  had  been  one  of  the 
very  creators  of  the  Republican  party,  and  he  had  managed 
its  affairs  when  Speaker  in  difficult  times  with  address  and 
power.  He  took  his  seat  in  the  Senate,  December  13,  and 
an  election  being  immediately  held  for  a  successor  in  the 



House  of  Representatives,  his  friend  and  neighbor,  Weldon 
N.  Edwards,  was  elected  and  was  sworn  in  February  7, 
1816.  Macon’s  transfer  to  the  Senate  may  not  have  been 
agreeable  to  him  at  all  points,  as  that  body  had  then  but 
thirty-six  members,  but  it  relieved  him  from  association 
with  Randolph  and  some  others  in  the  House  with  whom 
he  had  had  divergences  that  brought  regret,  and  also  re¬ 
lieved  him  from  association  with  Clay  and  Calhoun  and 
others  who,  while  training  with  the  Republican  party,  had 
liberal  views  of  the  Constitution  that  Macon  could  not 
stomach,  and,  indeed,  they  derisively  called  him  “Old  Fogy.” 
The  escape  was  doubtless  satisfactory  to  him. 

Gaston  in  Congress 

The  withdrawal  of  Mr.  Macon  from  the  House,  how¬ 
ever,  did  not  leave  the  North  Carolina  delegation  without 
distinguished  membership.  Among  others,  Mr.  Gaston  re¬ 
mained.  And  Gaston  was  rated  as  the  peer  of  Lowndes, 
Clay,  Calhoun  and  Webster:  indeed,  in  some  material  re¬ 
spects,  none  of  them  equaled  him.  Being  opposed  to  the 
administration,  his  course  led  him  away  from  Calhoun  and 
Clay,  with  both  of  whom  he  had  some  passages  in  debate. 
In  February,  1814,  when  the  Loan  Bill  was  before  the 
House,  he  reviewed  the  measures  of  the  administration 
with  great  power.  Calhoun  interposed,  Gaston  replied  with 
such  directness  that  had  not  Calhoun  smoothed  the  matter 
a  collision  would  have  occurred. 

Later,  in  January,  1816,  as  his  term  was  near  its  close 
Gaston  spoke  on  the  previous  question,  following  a  speech 
Speaker  Clay  had  made  on  the  floor.  It  was  one  of  the 
notable  speeches  delivered  in  Congress.  His  reputation 
was  high  and  the  galleries  were  crowded.  Gaston  had 
carefully  examined  all  the  law  and  history,  in  England  as 
here,  on  the  subject,  and  had  prepared  an  elaborate  and 
powerful  argument.  Speaker  Clay  had  spoken  with  the 
confidence  and  assurance  that  at  that  period  characterized 


Gaston’s  re¬ 
ply  to  Clay 



him.  Gaston  turning  to  the  Speaker  said:  "If  this  hideous 
rule  could  have  been  vindicated  we  should  have  received 
that  vindication  from  the  gentleman  who  has  just  resumed 
his  seat.  If  his  ingenuity  .and  zeal  combined  could  form, 
for  the  previous  question,  no  other  defense  than  that  which 
we  have  heard,  the  previous  question  cannot  be  defended. 
If  beneath  his  shield  it  found  so  slight  a  shelter,  it  must 
fall  a  victim  to  the  just  though  delayed  vengeance  of  awak¬ 
ened  and  indignant  freemen.  If  Hector  cannot  protect  his 
Troy,  the  doom  of  Troy  is  fixed  by  fate.”  Clay  was  put 
in  such  a  sorry  plight  by  the  well  considered  speech  of 
Gaston  that  he  became  personally  offended  with  him ;  polit¬ 
ically,  they  were  already  adversaries. 

Gaston  a  few  weeks  later  retired  from  the  national  halls, 
where  Clay  remained  a  great  figure.  They  did  not  meet 
again  for  many  years,  indeed  not  until  they  had  both  put 
aside  their  old  political  associations  and  had  become  Whigs. 
Then,  during  a  visit  of  Gaston  to  Washington  they  met 
Seaton  995  at  Mr.  Seaton’s  table.  They  each  gave  a  token  of  recogni¬ 
tion,  but  preserved  a  stately  reserve  until  the  host  offered 
the  sentiment:  “Friendships  in  marble,  enmities  in  dust.” 
They  obeyed  the  injunction;  cordial  relations  were  estab¬ 
lished  and  their  friendship  continued  through  life. 

The  Colonization  Society 

Apprehensions  of  evil  results  that  might  attend  emanci¬ 
pation  operated  to  restrict  the  right  of  owners  to  free  their 
slaves.  To  remove  fears  of  insurrection  incited  by  free 
negroes,  a  society  was  formed  in  1816  to  colonize  the  free 
negroes,  and,  indeed,  there  was  some  hope  that  colonization 
would  open  the  way  to  general  emancipation.  Chief  among 
the  promoters  of  this  society  was  Judge  Bushrod  Wash¬ 
ington  of  Virginia,  its  first  president;  and  Henry  Clay  was 
an  urgent  advocate.  Everywhere  throughout  the  Union  the 
advent  of  the  society  was  hailed  with  satisfaction,  and 
ninety-six  subsidiary  local  societies  were  formed,  chiefly  at 



the  South.  There  were  many  organized  in  North  Carolina, 
where  the  Quakers  cordially  cooperated.  The  settlement 
in  Africa  was  called  Monrovia  after  President  Monroe, 
who  rendered  the  enterprise  much  assistance. 

Murphey  strives  for  education 

When  the  Assembly  met  in  November,  1816,  John, 
Branch  was  Speaker  of  the  Senate,  Thomas  Ruffin  of  the 
House.  On  the  election  of  Ruffin  to  a  vacant  judgeship, 
James  Iredell  was  chosen  Speaker.  This  session  deserves 
to  be  considered  as  a  memorable  one  in  its  influences  on  the 
thoughts  of  the  people.  In  the  Senate,  Romulus  M.  Saun-. 
ders,  chairman  of  the  Committee  on  Propositions  and  Griev¬ 
ances,  was  perhaps  the  busiest  member,  but  A.  D.  Murphey’s 
work  was  by  far  the  most  important.  He  was  chairman  of 
the  committee  to  which  was  referred  the  subject  of  “free 
school  education,’’  of  that  having  in  charge  inland  naviga¬ 
tion,  and  that  to  consider  the  question  of  calling  a  conven¬ 
tion.  On  all  these  he  made  notable  reports  that  are  memo¬ 
rials  of  his  high  patriotism  and  correct  logic ;  of  his  wide 
information,  his  clearness  of  thought  and  precision  of  state¬ 
ment.  At  this  session  John  M.  Walker,  who  had  been 
appointed  on  the  committee  to  recommend  a  public  school 
system,  submitted  a  report,  saying,  however,  that  there 
had  been  no  meeting  of  the  committee.  Likewise 
Murphey  submitted  an  elaborate  report.  But  while  both 
were  ordered  to  be  printed  neither  was  acted  on.  The  sub¬ 
ject  was  left  open.  There  was  no  adequate  fund  for  the 

Murphey’s  report  went  fully  into  the  details  of  a 
statewide  system  of  public  instruction. 

In  his  report  on  inland  navigation,  Murphey  said,  “The 
true  foundations  of  national  prosperity  and  of  national  glory 
must  be  laid  in  a  liberal  system  of  internal  improvements 
and  of  public  education :  in  a  system  which  shall  give  en¬ 
couragement  to  the  cultivation  of  the  soil;  which  shall  give 


Papers,  Vol. 

of  water 



Papers,  II, 

of  represen¬ 

Papers,  II, 

force  to  the  faculties  of  the  mind  and  establish  over  the 
heart  the  empire  of  a  sound  morality."  In  this  report  he 
describes  the  effect  of  the  Gulf  Stream  on  the  coast  of  the 
State,  mentions-  that  the  inlet  through  which  Raleigh’s  ships 
entered  the  sound  had  long  been  closed,  and  he  recom¬ 
mended  that  another  should  be  opened  for  Albemarle 
Sound.  He  likewise  urged  the  improvement  of  Ocracoke 
Inlet,  and  of  those  of  the  Cape  Fear,  and  the  cutting  of  a 
canal  from  the  waters  of  the  Pamlico  and  Neuse  to  Beau¬ 
fort.  And  he  dwelt  on  the  improvement  of  the  river 
courses.  He  recommended  the  appointment  of  a  board  to 
have  these  matters  in  charge.  He  repeatedly  urged  the 
construction  of  a  canal  connecting  the  Yadkin  with  the  Cape 

Among  his  remarkable  reports  was  that  on  the  subject 
of  a  convention.  He  showed  that  37  counties  with  152,586 
whites  had  1 1 1  members  in  the  Assembly,  while  25  counties 
with  234,090  whites  had  only  74  members.  A  propor¬ 
tionate  representation  would  reverse  this,  giving  the  37 
counties  only  75  members.  He  declared  that  one-third 
of  the  State  governed  the  other  two-thirds,  and  urged  sub¬ 
mitting  the  question  to  the  people. 

The  currency 

The  financial  condition  was  not  satisfactory.  Specie  was 
scarce,  and  individuals  had  been  issuing  their  own  due  bills 
that  passed  to  some  extent  as  currency.  The  Legislature 
asked  the  State  Bank  to  increase  its  capital  stock,  so  as  to 
provide  additional  circulation.  The  directors  gave  reasons 
why  that  was  not  desirable.  From  this  statement  it  appears 
that  about  1797,  prior  to  the  establishment  of  any  bank, 
the  circulation  in  the  State  was  about  $300,000  of  State 
notes,  and  an  equal  amount  of  specie.  In  1811,  the  circu¬ 
lating  medium  was  about  one  million  dollars,  the  bank  notes, 
although  less  than  one-half,  being  depreciated.  Now  the 
bank  circulation  was  thought  to  be  nine  times  greater,  and 



any  increase  of  bank  issues  would  lead  to  depreciation.  The 
directors  mentioned  with  some  show  of  pride  that  when  at 
the  North  and  elsewhere  there  had  been  a  suspension  of  spe¬ 
cie  payments  the  notes  of  the  North  Carolina  banks  were  not 
depreciated,  but  passed  current  everywhere  throughout  the 
Union,  and  even  at  different  commercial  centers  brought  a 
premium,  and  were  in  fact  measurably  a  continental  cur¬ 
rency.  And  indeed  that  very  circumstance  might  well  have 
been  a  source  of  pride.  In  September,  1814,  the  banks  at 
the  North  had  suspended  specie  payment,  and  their  notes 
depreciated.  The  New  England  and  New  York  notes 
fell  ten  per  cent;  the  Baltimore  notes  20  per  cent;  and 
others  25  per  cent.  The  stability  of  the  North  Carolina 
bank  notes  presented  a  gratifying  contrast.  'Specie  pay¬ 
ments  at  the  North  were  not  resumed  until  the  establish¬ 
ment  of  the  United  States  Bank  by  Congress ;  and  now  that 
bank  was  about  to  open  a  branch  in  North  Carolina,  sup¬ 
plying  more  notes,  which  was  an  additional  reason  for  not 
further  enlarging  the  paper  circulation.  The  episode  well 
illustrates  the  enlightened  judgment  and  business  capacity 
of  the  bankers  of  the  State. 

The  Cherokees 

In  the  autumn  of  1806  deputations  of  the  Cherokee 
Indians  laid  before  the  President  their  desire  to  have  a 
division  between  the  upper  and  lower  towns,  and  prayed 
that  those  of  the  upper  towns  might  remain  in  their  pos¬ 
session  and  practice  agriculture  and  become  civilized ;  while 
those  of  the  lower  towns  desired  to  have  other  territory 
assigned  them  across  the  Mississippi  River.  The  President 
answered  in  1809  conformably  to  their  wishes,  and  later 
a  treaty  was  made  in  which  it  was  particularly  declared  that 
to  every  head  of  an  Indian  family  residing  on  lands  sur¬ 
rendered  to  the  United  States  who  may  wish  to  become 
citizens  of  the  United  States,  the  Government  was  to  allot 

North  Caro¬ 
lina  bank 



Statutes  at 
Large,  VII, 



640  acres  of  land.  So  the  way  was  opened  for  the  Cher- 
okees  of  the  upper  towns  to  become  citizens  of  the  United 
States.  North  Carolina  purchased  from  the  Cherokees  the 
territory  making  Haywood  County,  but  the  rights  of  the 
Indians  of  that  region  were  safely  guarded.  Their  chief 
and  agent  was  John  Ross,  who  exerted  a  great  influence  for 
good  among  them.  The  money  derived  from  the  sale  of 
that  land  became  a  fund  of  great  importance  and  benefit  to 
the  State  when  later  opened  for  entry. 

The  committee  on  the  erection  of  a  penitentiary  made  a 
favorable  report,  and  presented  a  bill  to  erect  one  at  Fayette¬ 
ville ;  but  the  House  preferred  Raleigh  as  the  location,  and 
on  December  19,  by  a  vote  of  66  to  56  passed  the  bill  with 
the  amendment.  However,  it  was  not  acted  on  in  the 
Senate.  The  ’Assembly  was  not  indifferent  to  propositions 
for  improvement  and  subscribed  for  150  shares  in  the  Cape 
Fear  Navigation  Company;  and  authorized  a  subscription 
of  $20,000  for  cutting  the  Yadkin  canal.  However,  it  re¬ 
fused  to  vest  in  one  company  under  Delacy  acting  for 
Fulton,  the  right  for  the  exclusive  use  of  steafnboats  on 
the  waters  of  the  State.  On  December  25  the  Assembly 
was  informed  that  the  Governor's  house  was  finished  and 
furnished  ready  for  occupancy. 

The  year  1816  has  been  called  “The  year  without  a  sum¬ 
mer.”  North  of  the  Ohio  and  Potomac,  in  every  month 
there  were  frost,  snow  and  ice  and  no  crops  matured.  In 
the  Southern  States  it  was  not  so  bad,  but  still  the  result 
was  damaging  in  North  Carolina  and  the  progressive  spirit 
of  this  Assembly  may  have  been  moderated  by  the  existing 


Steamboats — Fulton  Arrives 

Branch  Governor. — Renewed  efforts  for  transportation  and  for 
education. — Virginia  helps  on  the  Roanoke. — New  Bern  Steam¬ 
boat  Company  incorporated. — Education  at  Wilmington. — Mur- 
phey’s  plan. — Yancey  proposes  a  Supreme  Court. — Conditions  in 
1818. — Agriculture. — Death  of  Grove. — Sunday  schools. — Gales’s 
enterprise. — Other  enterprises. — Wild  schemes. — Surveys. — Su¬ 
preme  Court  established. — Court  reports. — New  judges. — Divorces. 
— Martin  proposes  taxation  for  schools. — The  House  opposed. — 
The  North  Carolina  waters. — Introduction  of  steamboats. — Presi¬ 
dent  Monroe’s  visit. — Maps. — Financial  distress. — The  disastrous 
year  at  Wilmington. — Fulton  arrives. — The  Mecklenburg  Declara¬ 
tion  first  published. — Its  genesis. — Alexander’s  notes. — The  ac¬ 
count  of  the  Declaration  altered. — Discredited. — Jones’s  defense 
of  North  Carolina. — The  Assembly  meets. — Portrait  of  Washing¬ 
ton. — The  Capitol  prepared  for  the  statue. — Movement  foil  a 

Internal  improvements 

When  the  Assembly  met  John  Branch  of  Halifax  was  at 
first  chosen  Speaker  of  the  Senate  and  then  Governor,  to 
succeed  Governor  Miller;  Bartlett  Yancey  taking  his  place, 
as  Speaker,  and  James  Iredell  becoming  Speaker  of  the 

Renewed  efforts  were  made  to  secure  internal  improve¬ 
ments,  and  to  promote  education,  Murphey  being  active  in 
every  matter  of  importance. 

As  to  river  improvement,  Treasurer  Haywood  with  three 
others  had  been  appointed  a  commission  to  visit  and  report 
progress  made  on  the  Catawba,  Yadkin  and  Cape  Fear; 
and  he  reported  that  but  little  work  had  been  done.  On 
the  other  hand,  Murphey  declared  that  in  the  State  at  large 
the  result  was  gratifying,  and  that  ten  millions  of  dollars 
had  been  added  to  the  value  of  property  in  the  State.  In 
particular,  was  he  specific  with  regard  to  the  operations  on 
the  Roanoke  and  Dan  rivers.  The  improvement  company 


Dec.,  1816 





The  Roanoke 



The  N ew 
Bern  Com¬ 


had  “commenced  its  labors,  and  within  less  than  twelve 
months  had  produced  effects  that  even  the  most  sanguine 
had  not  hoped  for;  lands  had  risen  more  than  100  per  cent 
in  value  along  many  of  the  waters  of  the  Roanoke.  Boats 
had  been  built  and  produce  brought  down  the  Dan  into 
the  Roanoke  to  the  advantage  of  the  State.” 

Virginia  had  proposed  to  pass  the  North  Carolina  act  of 
incorporation,  and  to  subscribe  $80,000  to  the  stock  of  the 
company,  on  certain  conditions,  which  on  Murphey’s  recom¬ 
mendation  the  Legislature  agreed  to.  Truly  it  seemed  that 
hopes  of  State  betterment  would  now  be  realized.  There 
were  several  propositions  to  secure  to  persons  the  exclusive 
right  to  navigate  streams  with  steamboats,  but  only  one  was 
acted  on  favorably.  The  New  Bern  Steamboat  Company 
was  incorporated,  to  have  a  capital  stock  of  $100,000  and  to 
navigate  the  waters  of  the  State. 

Surveys  were  ordered  to  be  made  of  all  the  principal 
rivers,  and  particularly  with  a  view  of  constructing  canals 
connecting  their  waters.  The  commissioners  appointed  on 
this  work  were  Peter  Browne,  John  Haywood,  Joseph 
Gales,  William  Boylan  and  A.  D.  Murphey. 

Tlie  penitentiary 

The  proposition  to  establish  a  penitentiary  now  had  the 
sanction  of  each  house,  but  the  controversy  between  Fayette¬ 
ville  and  Raleigh  as  to  the  location  again  defeated  the 
measure.  Public  instruction  was  also  more  in  the  thoughts 
of  the  people.  At  Wilmington  where  the  Innis  Academy 
was  in  operation,  the  ladies  asked  for  and  obtained  the 
incorporation  of  the  Female  Benevolent  Society,  to  care 
for  girls  and  give  them  education.  At  this  session  both 
Walker’s  and  Murphey’s  reports  were  considered.  Both 
favored  schools  at  which  every  child  might  receive  educa¬ 
tion  ;  but  while  Walker’s  provided  for  the  raising  of  money 
to  pay  for  the  tuition  of  the  poorer  children,  Murphey’s 
report  stated  that  that  would  be  reported  on  later. 



Martin  offered  a  bill  that  provided  for  a  fund  to  be 
raised  by  local  taxation,  but  it  was  not  considered. 

Murphey  said  in  his  report:  “Your  committee  feels 
proud  to  look  back  and  review  the  efforts  that  have  been 
made  in  North  Carolina  to  diffuse  public  instruction.  Few 
states  have  afforded  such  examples  of  private  munificence 
for  the  purpose.”  In  this  he  doubtless  had  reference  to  the 
considerable  number  of  local  academies  and  private  schools 
that  were  dotted  all  through  the  State  affording  an  oppor¬ 
tunity  to  every  child  whose  friends  could  avail  themselves 
of  it.  But  Murphey  now,  as  did  the  others,  urged  the  edu¬ 
cation  of  every  child,  rich  as  well  as  poor,  by  public  free 

Indeed,  Murphey’s  scheme  of  education  was  extensive. 
It  provided  for  primary  schools  in  the  townships,  for  acad¬ 
emies,  and  for  the  University,  although  he  regarded  that 
relatively  but  few  would  progress  beyond  the  primary  school. 
The  State  was  to  be  divided  into  ten  districts,  in  each  of 
which  an  academy  was  to  be  established :  and  the  entire 
course  was  to  be  at  the  expense  of  the  State.  Under  the 
circumstances,  while  Murphey’s  report  was  a  memorable 
exposition  of  the  general  subject,  illustrating  his  fine  intel¬ 
ligence  and  industry,  yet  it  was  certainly  an  impracticable 
measure  at  that  period.  None  of  the  propositions  were 
acted  on  favorably. 

Bartlett  Yancey,  to  whom  had  been  referred  that  part  of 
the  Governor’s  message  relating  to  the  judiciary,  made  a 
report  providing  for  a  Supreme  Court,  and  for  a  court 
to  be  held  in  the  western  part  of  the  State ;  but  that  measure 
also  failed.  However  a  proposition  to  revise  the  Acts  of 
Assembly  and  to  declare  what  British  Statutes  were  in  force 
in  the  State  was  adopted. 

1816.  p.  36 

Hoyt:  Mur¬ 
phey  Papers, 
IT,  63 

A  glimpse  of  conditions 

A  series  of  articles  on  agriculture  was  being  published 

in  the  newspapers;  in  January,  1818,  the  twenty-fifth  of 



Death  of 

Paper  mill 
Nail  factory 

the  series  appeared.  The  Agricultural  Society  of  North 
Carolina  had  its  annual  meeting.  On  the  4th  day  of  July 
there  was  a  celebration  at  Hillsboro  where  Col.  Wm.  Shep- 
perd  presided.  The  16th  toast  was  “The  Dagon  plow, 
clover  and  plaster ;  may  our  farmers  learn  their  use  and 
duly  appreciate  their  value. ”  “Mr.  Blount’s  cotton  crop, 
Washington,  was  28,164  pounds  on  30  acres,  938  pounds 
per  acre.’’  “Cotton  of  superior  grade,  branded  Joseph 
Chamblee,  Yadkin,  shipped  from  Wilmington  to  New 
York”  ;  “Because  of  drought,  no  corn  or  cotton  in  Cabarrus”  ; 
“Evans,  Donaldson  &  Co.  will  purchase  seed  cotton  at 
the  factory  at  Great  Falls  on  the  Tar  River.”  The  factory 
on  the  Tar  was  then  in  operation. 

On  the  30th  day  of  March  the  distinguished  public  man 
and  leading  Federalist,  William  B.  Grove,  passed  away  at 
Fayetteville.  He  was  then  president  of  the  branch  of  the 
U.  S.  Bank  located  there.  He  was  so  highly  venerated  that 
“the  inhabitants  of  the  town  resolved  to  wear  a  token  of 
mourning  for  thirty  days.”  And  on  the  same  day  at  Pilot 
Mountain,  Mrs.  Priscilla  Carmichael  died  at  the  age  of  113 
years ;  she  had  nineteen  children  and  her  eldest  daughter 
was  93  years  old.  The  healthiness  of  that  section  was  in 
contrast  with  the  insalubrity  of  the  eastern  counties. 


The  Sunday  school  begun  in  Raleigh  in  1817  had  been 
followed  by  one  at  Poplar  Tent  in  Mecklenburg. 

Raleigh’s  waterworks  were  completed;  “bringing  water 
a  mile  and  a  half  in  wooden  pipes,  raised  by  force  pumps 
no  feet  into  a  tower  whence  it  descends  to  a  reservoir  in 
the  State  House  yard.” 

Joseph  Gales’s  paper  mill  on  the  Neuse  was  in  operation 
and  Mitchael  Hofifry  &  Co.  had  a  nail  factory  at  Raleigh. 
“Pews  of  the  new  Presbyterian  Church  were  to  be  sold 
February  21.”  So  well  managed  was  the  State  Bank  that 
its  stock  was  30  per  cent  above  par.  Raleigh  was  enjoying 



a  theater.  The  Cape  Fear  Navigation  Company  was  im¬ 
proving  the  river  up  to  Haywood ;  while  the  company  that 
had  been  organized  to  render  navigable  the  Neuse  from 
Raleigh  to  New  Bern  was  so  successful  in  securing  sub¬ 
scriptions  that  nearly  all  the  shares  were  taken. 

To  construct  a  road  from  Fayetteville  to  Morganton, 
persons  living  within  two  miles  of  the  road  were  required 
to  work  it.  A  road  from  Burke  to  Charleston  by  way  of 
Kings  Mountain  was  already  in  operation.  Joseph  Seawell 
was  authorized  to  construct  a  bridge  across  the  Cape  Fear 
River  at  Fayetteville,  and  he  and  his  associates  were  to 
have  the  exclusive  right  to  navigate  the  Cape  Fear  River 
with  steamboats  for  seven  years  on  the  condition  that 
they  would  keep  at  least  one  boat  in  service.  The  Hen¬ 
rietta  was  now  plying  regularly  between  Wilmington  and 

State  coaches  ran  to  Salem  from  Raleigh,  and  to  Ply¬ 
mouth,  with  steamboat  from  Plymouth  to  Edenton ;  and 
stages  ran  to  New  Bern,  where  the  New  Bern  Steamboat 
Company  ran  to  Elizabeth  City,  with  'stages  to  Norfolk. 
There  were  two  mails  a  week  between  Salem  and  Raleigh. 
The  State  House  was  now  out  of  repair  and  needed  addi¬ 
tional  room  for  offices.  Henry  Potter,  Judge  Taylor  and 
Bartlett  Yancey  were  directed  to  sell  city  lots  to  obtain  the 
funds  to  make  the  alterations. 

Wild  visions 

On  the  return  of  the  Assemblymen  to  their  homes  in 
February  carrying  with  them  the  news  of  the  great  achieve¬ 
ments  of  the  Roanoke  Navigation  Company,  with  the  prom¬ 
ise  that  the  improvement  of  the  rivers  would  have  similar 
results  in  every  portion  of  the  State,  there  was  a  period  of 
unusual  interest  in  public  affairs.  “The  spirit  of  canal 
and  river  improvement  spread  like  wildfire.  There  were 
dreams  of  navigating  our  streams  from  near  their  homes 
to  the  ocean.  Raleigh  was  to  receive  the  vessels  of  Pam- 





The  surveys 

lico  Sound  up  Neuse  River  and  Walnut  Creek.  The  pro¬ 
duce  of  the  Yadkin  Valley,  from  the  foot  of  Blowing  Rock 
was  to  cross  by  canal  to  Deep  River  and  be  exported  from 
Wilmington,  and  the  puffing  of  steamboats  was  to  echo 
from  the  mountains  which  look  down  on  the  headwaters  of 
the  Catawba  and  the  Broad."  Such  is  the  lively  picture 
drawn  by  the  careful  Dr.  K.  P.  Battle. 

Under  such  circumstances  a  strong  Assembly  came  to 
Raleigh.  Among  the  members  were  Gaston,  Saunders 
Iredell,  Stanly,  McKay,  Yancey,  Murphey,  Kenan,  Bedford 
Brown,  Louis  D.  Wilson,  Simmons  Baker,  Meares,  Mebane, 
Willie  P.  Mangum,  Charles  Fisher,  Caldwell  of  Iredell,  and 
Zebulon  Baird  ;  and  there  were  others  of  similar  strength. 

Ambitious  projects 

In  the  Assembly,  Murphey  submitted  a  report  from  the 
commission  appointed  to  employ  "a  principal  engineer"  and 
other  engineers  and  to  cause  surveys  to  be  made  of  the 
rivers,  in  which  it  was  said  that  no  “principal  engineer" 
could  be  obtained  in  this  country,  for  all  competent  men  were 
otherwise  employed ;  that  their  chairman,  Peter  Browne, 
had  gone  to  England  and  the  commissioners  had  requested 
him  to  engage  one  abroad.  A  detailed  report  of  the  several 
surveys  made  was  submitted.  Dr.  Caldwell  and  Prof. 
Mitchell  made  the  survey  of  the  Yadkin  Narrows  and 
Great  Falls.  John  Price,  the  compiler  of  the  map  of  the 
State,  and  Clemens  made  several  surveys.  Surveys  were 
made  of  the  Cape  Fear,  the  Yadkin,  and  other  streams; 
and  routes  for  canals  connecting  several  of  them.  Nor 
was  the  project  of  developing  water  transportation  con¬ 
fined  to  the  streams.  Murphey  proposed  a  survey  for  in¬ 
land  communication  from  Pamlico  Sound  to  the  Cape  Fear ; 
and  from  the  Cape  Fear  to  South  Carolina.  If  most  of 
this  was  visionary,  some  substantial  action  was  taken,  and 
work  was  ordered  to  remove  the  obstructions  of  the  Cape 
Fear  River  below  Wilmington.  Whatever  doubts  mav  have 



been  entertained  about  the  efficiency  of  water  transportation 
were  dissipated,  progress  was  now  to  be  made. 

The  Supreme  Court 

And  in  the  fullness  of  time,  the  judicial  system  of  the 
State  was  given  its  final  form.  The  Court  of  Conference 
had  been  replaced  by  a  Supreme  Court,  of  which  each  of 
the  Superior  Court  judges  was  a  potential  member,  only 
two  being  necessary  for  a  quorum.  Of  the  Court  of  Con¬ 
ference  John  Louis  Taylor  was  the  Chief  Justice  and  the 
only  one.  It  had  a  seal  and  the  judges  were  required  to 
write  out  their  opinions ;  but  in  some  states  there  were 
Supreme  Court  judges  who  only  heard  appeals,  and  year 
after  year  there  were  propositions  to  establish  such  a  high 
court  in  North  Carolina.  At  length  in  1818  Gaston  presented 
such  a  measure  and  it  was  passed.  Three  Supreme  Court 
judges  were  to  be  elected.  When  organized,  the  court  chose 
Taylor  its  Chief  Justice.  Along  with  the  establishment  of 
this  court,  the  Legislature  provided  a  salary  of  $500  for  a  The  reports 
reporter,  who  was  to  furnish  the  State  142  copies  of  reports 
of  decisions.  Before  that  there  had  been  published  at  pri¬ 
vate  venture  reports  compiled  by  Francois  Xavier  Martin 
containing  decisions  of  the  Superior  Court  and  of  the  U.  S. 

Circuit  Court;  by  Judge  John  Haywood  reports  containing 
decisions  of  the  Superior  Court,  Court  of  Conference,  and 
the  Federal  courts,  between  1797  and  1806.  Chief  Justice 
Taylor  published  reports  for  1799,  and  Conference  reports, 
and  Archibald  Murphey  published  reports  for  1804  to  1810. 

Taylor  also  published  the  North  Carolina  Law  Repository, 
the  first  volume  containing  State  reports  for  1811  and  1812 
and  selected  decisions  elsewhere,  along  with  sketches  of 
eminent  jurists;  and  this  was  followed  by  a  second  volume 
in  1815,  and  Taylor's  Term  Reports  in  1816.  Murphey 
then  published  a  report  for  1817.  Such  had  been  the  pub¬ 
lications  up  to  the  time  of  the  organization  of  the  new 
Supreme  Court  and  the  employment  of  a  State  reporter. 








The  Legislature  also  now  appointed  Henry  Potter,  Bart¬ 
lett  Yancey  and  Chief  Justice  Taylor  to  revise  the  statutes 
of  the  State. 

Changes  on  the  bench 

There  being  three  vacancies  on  the  Superior  Court  bench, 
John  Paxton,  John  D.  Toomer  and  Frederick  Nash  were 
chosen.  Neither  Paxton  nor  Toomer  remained  long  on 
the  bench,  although  Judge  Toomer  was  eminent  in  the  pro¬ 
fession;  but  it  was  the  beginning  of  an  illustrious  judicial 
career  for  Judge  Nash.  A  few  days  later,  the  Assembly 
adopted  a  resolution  that  in  its  opinion  no  judge  ought  to  be 
a  director  in  any  bank  and  contemporaneously  with  the 
adoption  of  that  resolution,  Judge  Ruffin,  who  was  hardly 
warm  in  his  seat  on  the  bench,  resigned  and  his  preceptor 
in  law,  Mr.  Murphey,  succeeded  him. 

In  1814,  the  Superior  courts  were  authorized  to  grant 
divorces  from  bed  and  board  and  to  allow  alimony,  but 
the  Legislature  reserved  to  itself  the  right  of  granting 
absolute  divorces,  annulling  the  marriage  tie ;  the  practice 
as  to  these  being  for  the  court  to  examine  the  witnesses  and 
present  the  facts  to  the  Legislature  for  its  action.  Now, 
four  years  later,  the  Superior  courts  were  for  the  first  time 
vested  with  the  power  of  granting  absolute  divorces. 

The  House  opposed  to  taxes 

William  Martin  of  Pasquotank  from  the  Committee 
on  Public  Instruction  reported  ,  a  bill  authorizing  the  county 
courts  to  establish  one  or  more  public  schools  in  each  cap¬ 
tain’s  district;  the  teacher  to  be  paid,  two-thirds  by  the  pay 
pupils  and  one-third  by  taxation ;  the  poor  children  shall 
be  taught  free  and  books  furnished  them.  This  was  some¬ 
what  similar  to  the  Massachusetts  system.  This  bill  passed 
the  Senate  52  to  2,  but  it  was  postponed  in  the  House. 
Such  was  the  fate  of  every  effort  to  establish  schools  by 
taxation.  The  Senate,  being  perhaps  of  a  higher  order  of 



statesmanship  than  the  House,  was  hampered  by  the  major¬ 
ity  of  that  body,  although  there  were  many  members  of 
fine  intelligence  in  the  House  also.  The  failure  to  move 
forward  now  was  an  illustration  of  the  inaction  of  a  too 
conservative  democracy. 

Tlie  North  Carolina  waters 

From  the  Virginia  line  to  South  Carolina  the  ocean  bank 
is  generally  a  sand  ridge  varying  in  width  from  a  few 
miles  to  a  hundred  yards,  but  with  capes  jutting  out  as  at 
Hatteras  and  Lookout  and  at  the  mouth  of  the  Cape  Fear. 
Within  the  banks  at  the  north  are  Albemarle  and  Pamlico 
sounds,  whose  waters  extend  westward  over  a  hundred 
miles  to  the  mouths  of  the  Chowan,  Roanoke,  Tar  and 
Neuse;  and  there  are  inlets  breaking  through  the  banks, 
the  principal  ones  being  near  Roanoke  Island  and  at  Ocra- 
coke.  Lower  down  are  Beaufort  harbor  and  the  mouth  of 
the  Cape  Fear  River.  From  the  water  level  for  more 
than  one  hundred  miles  inland  is  the  Coastal  Plain  that 
rises  about  a  foot  to  the  mile,  often  being  so  level  that 
water  barely  passes  ofif.  Here  are  the  great  swamps  that 
were  a  menace  to  health,  while  too  vast  to  be  drained 
through  private  enterprise.  But  here  also  were  great  forests 
that  yielded  lumber  and  naval  stores  for  export. 

Along  the  western  confines  of  this  plain  were  the  rocks 
that  made  the  falls  in  the  river  courses,  as  in  the  counties  of 
Halifax,  Nash,  Wake,  Moore,  and  Montgomery;  and  now 
began  the  Piedmont  region,  gently  rising  for  two  hundred 
miles  to  the  mountains,  with  hills  here  and  there  almost 
mountainous.  Then  at  the  west  is  the  Blue  Ridge,  running 
from  the  South  Carolina  line  to  Ashe  County,  curving  and 
with  a  broken  chord  between  the  eastern  extremities.  Be¬ 
yond  the  Blue  Ridge  are  ranges  and  spurs  to  the  Alle- 
ghanies,  with  valleys  and  plateaus,  and  nearly  a  hundred 
peaks  reaching  six  thousand  feet,  all  covered  with  rich  soil 
and  clothed  in  verdure.  In  Ashe  County  New  River  runs 



northward,  flowing  into  the  Ohio;  while  Toe  River 
passes  into  Tennessee,  as  do  the  French  Broad  and 
other  western  streams.  But  the  Catawba  and  Yadkin,  rising 
on  the  eastern  slopes  of  the  Blue  Ridge,  run  northward, 
until  reaching  more  level  beds,  they  bend  to  the  eastward 
and  finally  turn  sharply  to  the  southward,  the  Catawba 
passing  into  South  Carolina  west  of  Charlotte,  and  the 
Yadkin  keeping  some  fifty  miles  farther  east.  The  Catawba 
in  its  courses  is  generally  placid  and  with  only  a  slight 
current,  and  navigable  for  boats,  but  with  some  shallows 
here  and  there;  and  so  with  the  Yadkin  until  it  reaches, 
in  Montgomery  County,  the  gorge  formed  by  the  en¬ 
croachment  of  the  Uwharrie  Mountains  upon  its  channel. 
There  it  suddenly  plunges  a  sheer  cataract  of  ten  feet  into 
the  head  of  the  Narrows  through  which  it  passes  a  swift 
torrent,  compressed  into  a  width  of  sixty  feet,  for  nearly 
three  miles;  then  leaving  the  gorge,  it  at  once  expands  into 
a  breadth  of  a  thousand  yards,  and  becomes  a  scene  of 
verdure  caused  by  the  Grassy  Islands. 

Along  the  Virginia  line,  the  Dan,  rising  in  Stokes  County, 
courses  eastward,  passes  into  Virginia,  where  it  joins  the 
Roanoke  which  presently  comes  into  the  State,  being  a 
wide  and  placid  stream  until  it  reaches  the  rapids  in  Halifax 
County ;  its  waters  finally  emptying  into  Albemarle  Sound. 

The  Haw  and  the  Deep  in  the  central  counties  unite  and 
form  the  Cape  Fear  that  from  Fayetteville  down  is  a  gentle, 
wide  and  deep  stream.  The  Tar  and  the  Neuse,  draining  the 
middle  counties,  also  in  their  lower  courses  are  navigable. 
Such  in  brief  was  the  water  system,  which  now  it  was 
proposed  to  utilize  as  far  as  practicable  for  transportation. 
The  scheme  was  by  no  means  Utopian.  To  succeed,  how¬ 
ever,  required  a  considerable  expenditure  and  intelligent 
work.  Shoals  and  obstacles  were  to  be  removed  and  their 
subsequent  formation  from  natural  causes  guarded  against, 
and  the  conditions  were  not  favorable  for  a  realization  of 
the  hopes  now  entertained. 



Introduction  of  steamboats 

In  1813  John  Devereux  Delacy  came  to  New  Bern  as  the 
representative  of  Robert  Fulton,  where  there  was  also  a 
representative  of  Stevens  who  had  been  engaged  with  Fulton 
earlier,  but  having  separated,  was  now  engaged  in  the  same 
business  Fulton  was  following — building  steamboats  for  use 
in  any  desirable  waters.  North  Carolina  had  not  only 
her  rivers  but  her  inland  sounds,  and  the  possibilities  of 
pecuniary  returns  were  apparent.  At  that  period  the  boats 
and  machinery  were  so  imperfect  that  the  speed  was  only 
about  four  and  a  half  miles  an  hour. 

Application  was  made  in  behalf  of  Stevens,  for  the  exclu¬ 
sive  right  to  navigate  the  waters  of  the  State,  but  the  As¬ 
sembly  annexed  a  condition  that  was  not  acceptable ;  Delacy 
likewise  made  an  application  for  the  exclusive  right  to  navi¬ 
gate  the  Neuse  for  a  number  of  years:  nor  was  that  appli¬ 
cation  favorably  considered.  Robert  Fulton  died  in  1816, 
but  Delacy  remained,  and  on  the  formation  of  the  Neuse 
Navigation  Company,  he  associated  himself  with  that  com¬ 
pany  and  was  engaged  with  its  affairs.  He  continued  at 
New  Bern,  and  in  1818  a  steamboat  was  plying  from  New 
Bern  to  Elizabeth  City.  Some  years  later  Delacy  offered 
to  sell  his  interest  in  steamboats  to  the  State  at  the  price 
of  thirty  thousand  dollars,  but  the  offer  was  not  accepted. 
It  is  said  that  the  Clermont,  the  first  steamboat  to  ascend 
the  Hudson,  was  sold  at  the  South.  As  Delacy  was  the  agent 
of  Fulton  to  place  his  steamboats,  it  is  probable  that  the 
Clermont  was  brought  to  New  Bern.  The  first  use  of 
steamboats  at  New  Bern  appears  to  have  been  to  open  a 
route  to  Norfolk  and  the  North  by  steamer  from  New  Bern 
to  Elizabeth  City,  and  then,  overland  to  Norfolk.  For  that 
service  the  Clermont  was  well  adapted.  She  was  133  feet 
lon<r,  18  feet  wide  and  her  hull  9  feet  deep.  While  well 
suited  for  the  sound,  she  drew  too  much  water  to  ascend 
the  Neuse  very  high  up.  Efforts  were  made  to  clear  Neuse 

New  Bern 





Edenton*  and 

Battle  Hist. 
Univ.,  252. 

The  Cape 

River  of  obstacles,  but  if  steamboats  were  used  they  did  not 
at  that  period  ascend  far.  And  in  1846,  Governor  Graham 
mentioned  as  something  new  that  a  steamboat  was  then 
plying  the  Neuse,  and  another  on  the  Tar. 

In  1818  the  Edenton  and  Plymouth  Steamboat  Company 
had  been  incorporated  and  a  steamer  ran  between  Plymouth 
and  Edenton.  Of  this  Dr.  Mitchell  makes  mention.  He 
was  bringing  his  bride  from  Connecticut.  They  reached 
Norfolk  by  steamboat  from  Baltimore,  and  then  over  land 
eleven  miles  to  the  head  of  Dismal  Swamp  Canal.  The 
canal  boat  was  twenty  feet  long  and  it  was  drawn  by  horse 
four  miles  an  hour  for  twenty-two  miles.  Arriving  at 
Edenton,  they  found  the  steamboat  had  gone.  On  reaching 
Plymouth  they  took  the  stage  to  Raleigh. 

The  first  steamboat  on  the  Cape  Fear  seems  to  have  been 
the  Prometheus  in  1818.  A  joint  stock  company  had  been 
formed  for  the  purpose  of  having  a  steamer  built  to  ply 
between  Wilmington  and  Smithville  or  Wilmington  and 
Fayetteville.  Captain  Otway  Burns,  of  privateer  Snap 
Dragon  fame  during  the  war  of  1812,  was  the  contractor. 
The  boat  was  built  at  Beaufort  where  he  resided.  When 
the  company  was  informed  that  the  steamer  was  ready  for 
delivery  they  dispatched  an  experienced  sea  captain  to 
bring  her  to  her  destined  port.  Expectations  were  on  tiptoe. 
A  feverish  excitement  existed  in  the  community,  which 
daily  increased,  as  nothing  was  heard  of  him  for  a  time, 
but  early  one  morning  this  anxiety  broke  into  the  wildest 
enthusiasm  when  it  was  announced  that  the  Prometheus 
was  in  the  river.  Bells  were  rung,  cannon  fired,  and  the  en¬ 
tire  population,  without  regard  to  age,  sex  or  color,  thronged 
the  wharves  to  welcome  her  arrival.  The  tide  was  at  the 
ebb,  and  the  struggle  between  the  advancing  steamer  and 
the  fierce  current  was  a  desperate  one,  for  she  panted  fear¬ 
fully,  as  though  wind-blown  and  exhausted.  She  could 
be  seen  in  the  distance,  enveloped  in  smoke,  and  the  scream 
of  her  high  pressure  engine  reverberated  through  the  woods, 



while  she  slowly  but  surely  crept  along.  As  she  neared 
Market  Dock,  the  captain  called  through  his  speaking 
trumpet  to  the  engineer  below,  “Give  it  to  her,  Snyder,” 
and  while  Snyder  gave  her  all  the  steam  she  could  bear, 
the  laboring  Prometheus  snorted  by,  amid  the  cheers  of  the 
excited  multitude. 

On  the  Cape  Fear  the  Henrietta  was  plying  in  1818.  The 
Clarendon  Steamboat  Company  was  organized  at  Wil¬ 
mington  in  1818  and  all  its  stock  quickly  taken,  while  at 
Fayetteville  James  Seawell  was  the  master  mind  in  planning 
and  executing.  In  the  fall  of.  1818  he  obtained  an  act  of 
Assembly  vesting  in  himself  and  associates  the  exclusive 
privilege  for  the  period  of  seven  years  of  running  steam¬ 
boats  between  Fayetteville  and  Wilmington;  but  others  were 
to  be  allowed,  if  licensed  by  him.  He  likewise  obtained 
authority  to  build  a  toll  bridge  across  the  river  at  Fayette¬ 
ville  near  the  steamboat  landing.  He  appears  to  have  fos¬ 
tered  the  building  pf  boats  by  others,  for  four  years  later, 
the  Legislature  passed  an  act  incorporating  under  the  name 
of  the  Cape  Fear  Steamboat  Company  the  proprietors  of 
all  the  steamboats  then  plying  on  the  river.  The  capital 
stock  was.  to  be  $60,000. 

Apparently,  the  first  steamboat  built  on  the  river  was  the 
City  of  Fayetteville.  “It  was  launched  not  far  from  the 
Clarendon  bridge,  and  it  has  been  related  that  some  one 
having  prophesied  that  it  would  turn  turtle  when  it  reached 
the  water,  the  architect  boldly  rode  in  its  bow,  as  it  slipped 
off  its  ways  and  the  event  justified  his  faith  in  his  work.” 

Then  came  the  Henrietta ,  the  Fanny  Lutterloh,  the  Cot¬ 
ton  Plant,  and  others.  In  1819  the  Fayetteville  Observer 
mentioned  merchandise  purchased  in  New  York,  March  27, 
and  shipped  the  29th,  reached  Wilmington  April  6,  and  was 
received  at  Fayetteville  by  the  Steamer  Henrietta  in  eight 
days  .  .  .  and  before  the  bill  of  lading  had  reached 
Fayetteville  by  mail. 

Cape  Fear 

Ibid.,  151 



April,  1819 


at  Nags 


Hoyt:  Mur- 
phey  Papers, 
II,  180 

In  1825,  at  the  end  of  seven  years,  the  Cotton  Plant 
Steamboat  Company  was  incorporated. 

And  while  Seawell  and  his  associates  were  securing  trans¬ 
portation  on  the  water,  the  people  at  the  west  were  co¬ 
operating  and  making  efforts  to  obtain  turnpike  roads  to 
Morganton,  and  to  Salem  and  Wilkesboro ;  and  a  good  road 
had  been  built  to  Raleigh. 


Monroe’s  visit 

In  April,  1819,  President  Monroe  made  a  tour  through 
the  South,  and,  accompanied  by  John  C.  Calhoun,  the  Secre¬ 
tary  of  War,  and  some  of  the  Army  Engineers,  he  went 
from  Edenton  across  to  Roanoke  Island  and  Nags  Head  to 
examine  the  situation  in  regard  to  opening  an  inlet  into 
Albemarle  Sound.  He  visited  Plymouth;  and  traveled  by 
land  to  Washington,  where  a  salute  of  twenty-one  guns  was 
given  him ;  and  indeed  everywhere  he  received  a  great  ova¬ 
tion.  He  then  pursued  his  journey  southward  to  New  Bern 
and  Wilmington.  On  April  12,  he  and  his  suite  were  met 
at  Scotts  Hill  by  the  Wilmington  Light-horse  and  escorted 
to  the  town.  The  next  day,  accompanied  by  A.  D.  Murphey, 
he  was  shown  the  salt  works  still  in  operation  at  Wrights- 
ville,  and  then  the  steamer  Prometheus  carried  his  party  to 
Fort  Johnston,  on  the  way  to  Charleston. 

It  is  difficult  to  realize  what  obstacles  the  public  men  of 
that  period  encountered  for  the  want  of  accurate  informa¬ 
tion  about  the  State.  There  were  no  maps.  Jonathan 
Price  and  Strother  proposed  to  make  a  map  of  the  State, 
but  the  Legislature  being  applied  to  for  assistance  had  de¬ 
nied  any  aid;  fortunately  Judge  Stone  and  Peter  Browne 
gave  some  assistance  and  the  enterprise  went  forward. 
However,  one-sixth  of  the  State  at  the  west  remained 
without  any  survey,  and  very  imperfectly  portrayed.  Still 
a  few  years  later  when  Turner  was  preparing  his  atlas  in¬ 
cluding  the  countries  of  the  world  and  each  American 



state,  he  complimented  this  map  as  being  the  best  of  any 

The  movement  for  transportation  led  to  surveys  in  the 
central  and  eastern  parts  of  the  State  and  brought  out  much 
information  of  value. 

The  geological  structure  of  the  Piedmont  section  par¬ 
ticularly  was  explored  and  interesting  facts  connected  with 
the  falls  in  the  various  rivers  on  passing  into  the  Coastal 
plain  were  brought  to  public  attention,  particular  surveys 
being  made  by  Dr.  Mitchell,  President  Caldwell  and  others. 

Financial  distress 

In  1819  there  was  widespread  financial  distress  through¬ 
out  the  State.  The  policies  introduced  in  1815  had  borne 
some  fruit.  The  movement  for  internal  improvements  had 
brought  hope  of  advanced  values  and  of  local  development. 

And  so  an  era  of  speculation  set  in.  But  the  progress  was 
not  commensurate  with  the  expectations  while  the  main 
cause  of  the  backward  condition  of  the  State  remained. 

In  the  absence  of  adequate  transportation  facilities  the  prod¬ 
ucts  of  the  industrious  inhabitants  were  of  small  value  at 
home,  and  carried  to  a  market  elsewhere,  other  communi¬ 
ties  profited  from  them,  while  merchants  in  other  states 
derived  the  profit  from  supplying  necessary  goods  to  the 
people  of  North  Carolina.  It  was  to  remove  these  obstacles 
to  prosperity  that  a  great  effort  was  now  made  by  the  lead¬ 
ing  men.  But  for  the  present  the  condition  was  bad.  The 
banks  suspended  specie  payments.  Many  persons  became 

This  vear  has  been  called  “the  disastrous  vear"  for  the  . 

\\  ilmington 

little  town  of  Wilmington,  whose  white  population  was 
barely  a  thousand.  First,  in  the  summer  the  dreadful  scourge 
of  yellow  fever  that  was  more  prevalent  through  the  South 
Atlantic  region  than  usual,  prevailed  in  the  town :  and 
then  in  November  a  conflagration  almost  destroyed  it. 

“Thrice, ”  said  the  Wilmington  Recorder,  “within  twenty 



Cape  Fear 


years  has  the  devouring  element  laid  in  ashes  the  abodes 
of  her  inhabitants.  .  .  .  Enterprise,  industry,  and  the  assist¬ 
ance  of  her  neighbors  gave  her  measurably  resuscitation, 
until  the  recent  pressure  of  the  times  bended  her  down  al¬ 
most  to  the  sinking  point.  Embarrassments  in  pecuniary 
matters  had  reached  that  state  which  appeared  to  baffle 
relief.  Sickness  and  death  followed  in  the  melancholy 
train.  Despair  had  almost  concluded  that  she  could  not 
sink  beyond  this.  Hope  pointed  to  better  days.  Disease 
had  ceased,  the  deserted  abodes  of  her  inhabitants  filling, 
vessels  arriving  daily  in  her  port.  Then  the  fire ;  the  de¬ 
lusion  vanished.  There  were  about  three  hundred  houses 
destroyed  and  the  loss  of  property  was  between  six  and 
seven  hundred  thousand  dollars. ”  The  fever  that  attacked 
Wilmington  also  prevailed  elsewhere  in  the  State.  At 
Fayetteville  there  were  several  deaths,  and  elsewhere  com¬ 
munities  suffered. 

On  April  11  the  first  Presbyterian  Church  ever  erected  at 
Wilmington  was  dedicated  and  Rev.  Mr.  Boice  was  or¬ 
dained  and  installed  as  pastor.  “It  was  but  a  few  years 
past  that  there  was  but  one  minister  of  that  place  and  he  of 
the  Methodist  persuasion.  The  Episcopal  Church  was  in 
a  ruinous  and  neglected  state ;  since  which  time  it  has  been 
repaired,  galleries  added,  and  an  organ  obtained ;  a  Meth¬ 
odist  meeting  house  built,  and  the  Presbyterian  Church ; 
over  all  are  clergymen.” 

Fulton  arrives 

Hamilton  Fulton,  the  English  Engineer  employed  by 
Peter  Browne,  arrived  in  June,  1819,  and  found  himself  in 
the  presence  of  novel  conditions.  But  on  the  departure  of 
Browne  for  England,  Murphey  had  been  chosen  a  member 
of  the  Board  of  Internal  Improvements  to  supply  the  va¬ 
cancy;  and  he  was  likewise  chosen  chairman  of  the  board; 
and  as  such  he  prepared  a  memoir  of  the  situation  in  the 
State  for  the  information  and  instruction  of  Fulton,  the  first 



object  in  view  being  to  render  the  rivers  navigable,  not 
for  steamboats,  but  for  flat  boats,  carrying  produce  from 
river  landings  down  the  stream  to  some  point  for  shipment. 

To  this  end,  the  Catawba  and  the  Yadkin  and  other  rivers 
were  deemed  navigable  almost  to  the  mountains. 

Murphey’s  memoir  indicates  such  a  thorough  examination 
of  details  and  such  a  copious  volume  of  information  that  Jhey  Paper's, 
of  itself  it  establishes  Judge  Murphey  in  the  front  rank  n>  103 
of  North  Carolinians. 

Fulton  had  been  employed  in  important  works  in  several 
countries  of  Europe  and  rated  his  services  at  1200  pounds 
per  annum.  While  his  residence  was  at  Raleigh,  his  em¬ 
ployment  led  him  to  make  examination  of  all  the  rivers. 

The  Mecklenburg  Declaration 

On  the  30th  day  of  April,  1819,  there  was  published  in 
the  Register  at  Raleigh  a  paper  writing  giving  an  account 
of  a  patriotic  convention  held  at  Charlotte,  May  20,  1775,  at 
which  resolutions  declaring  independence  were  adopted. 

It  had  happened  that  the  records  of  the  Committee  of 
Safety  of  Mecklenburg  County  were  in  the  possession  of 
Col.  John  McKnitt  Alexander,  and  his  residence  having  . 
been  burnt  down  in  April,  1800,  these  records  were  then 
destroyed.  Soon  afterwards  he  undertook  to  reproduce 
the  resolves  of  the  committee  adopted  in  May,  1775,  and 
this  is  what  he  wrote : 

On  the  19th  May  1775  Pursuant  to  the  Order  of  Col.  Adam 
Alexander  to  each  Captain  of  Militia  in  his  regiment  of  Meck¬ 
lenburg  County,  to  elect  nominate  and  appoint  2  persons  of 
their  Militia  company,  cloathed  with  ample  powers  to  devise 
ways  and  means  to  extricate  themselves  and  ward  off  the  dread¬ 
ful  impending  storms  bursting  on  them  by  the  British  Nation 

Therefore  on  sd.  19th  May  the  sd.  Committee  met  in  Char¬ 
lotte  Town  (2  men  from  each  company)  Vested  with  all  powers 
these  their  constituents  had  or  conceived  they  had  &&& 

After  a  short  conference  about  their  suffering  brethren  be- 
seiged  and  suffering  every  hardship  in  Boston  and  the  American 
Blood  running  in  Lexington  &&&  the  Electrical  fire  flew  into 
every  breast  and  to  preserve  order  choose  Abraham  Alex  Es- 



quire  chairman  &  J.  McK.  A.  Secretary.  After  a  few  Hour  free 
discussion  in  order  to  give  relief  to  suffering  America  and 
protect  our  Just  &  natural  right. 

1st.  We,  (the  County)  by  a  solemn  and  awful  vote,  dissolved 
our  allegiance  to  King  George  and  the  British  Nation. 

2nd.  Declared  ourselves  a  free  &  independent  people,  hav¬ 
ing  a  right  and  capable  to  govern  ourselves  (as  a  part  of  North 

3rd.  In  order  to  have  laws  as  a  rule  of  life — for  our  future 
Government.  We  formed  a  Code  of  laws,  by  adopting  our  former 
wholesome  laws. 

4th.  And  as  there  was  then  no  officers  civil  or  military  in  our 
County  we  decreed  that  every  Militia  officer  in  sd.  county  should 
hold  and  occupy  his  former  commission  and  Grade  and  that 
every  member  present,  of  this  Committee  shall  henceforth  as 
a  Justice  of  the  Peace. 

After  reading  and  maturing  every  paragraph  they  were  all 
passed  Nem.  Com.  about  12  o’clock  May  20,  1775,  etc. 

The  original  manuscript  is  still  preserved  at  the  University 
of  North  Carolina. 

Later,  some  unknown  person  with  the  above  as  a  basis, 
prepared  the  paper  that  was  published  in  the  Register  in 
1819.  The  fact  that  some  such  action  was  taken  in  Meck¬ 
lenburg  in  1775  was  known  by  Col.  William  Polk  and  others ; 
but  some  of  the  statements  made  in  the  published  paper 
being  known  to  be  incorrect,  Colonel  Polk  and  Judge  Mur- 
phey  and  later  Judge  Martin,  who  wrote  a  history  of  the 
State,  subsequently  altered  the  account  in  the  paper  to  con¬ 
form  to  their  views.  Ten  years  later  in  1839,  in  the  ab¬ 
sence  of  anything  to  the  contrary,  on  the  recommendation 
of  a  committee,  the  General  Assembly  resolved  that  the 
corrected  paper  be  printed  as  the  proceedings  in  Mecklen¬ 
burg  County  and  that  has  since  been  known  as  “May  20.” 

It  will  be  observed  that  Colonel  Alexander  himself  wrote 
about  the  “election  of  committeemen  on  the  19th  of  May," 
and  the  meeting  of  the  committee  on  the  same  day  and  its 
proceedings.  When  his  notes  were  being  written  out  in  full 
by  some  unknown  person,  the  conflicting  statements,  doubt¬ 
less  were  observed ;  and  to  avoid  the  conflict,  the  election 
of  committeemen  on  the  19th  was  omitted  and  that  date 



was  erroneously  attached  to  the  meeting — the  committeemen 
were  changed  to  delegates  and  the  committee  meeting  to 
a  convention.  Such  appears  to  have  been  the  origin  of  the 
account  of  any  meeting  on  the  19th,  the  day  when  the  com¬ 
mitteemen  were  elected.  Up  to  1835  there  was  no  knowl¬ 
edge  of  any  contemporaneous  publication  relating,  to  this 
episode,  but  then  and  afterwards  the  contemporaneous  ac¬ 
count  of  the  action  taken  at  Charlotte  by  the  Committee  of 
Safety  on  May  31  was  found  in  several  newspapers  of 
June,  1775.  The  proceedings  and  resolves  being  so  simi¬ 
lar,  it  is  apparent  that  they  were  what  Colonel  Alexander 
remembered  and  sought  to  reproduce  in  1800.  After  these 
discoveries  the  account  written  in  1800  by  some  unknown 
person  of  a  Convention  of  Delegates  at  Charlotte  on  May 
20,  was  discredited  and  the  contemporaneous  publications 
of  the  proceedings  of  the  Committee  of  Safety  elected  as 
Colonel  Alexander  wrote  were  accepted ;  so  the  Legislature 
of  1850,  in  making  reference  to  the  “Mecklenburg  Decla¬ 
ration”  said  “May,  1775.”  In  Johnston’s  Cyclopedia  is  an 
article  attributed  by  the  editors  to  Governor  William  A. 
Graham,  in  which  it  is  stated  that  there  was  only  one  meet¬ 
ing  at  Charlotte  and  it  was  held  on  May  31;  that  there 
was  no  meeting  on  May  20. 

When  the  publication  was  made  in  the  Register  in  1819 
it  attracted  the  particular  attention  of  John  Adams  and 
Thomas  Jefferson,  who  had  been  promoters  of  independ¬ 
ence  in  1776.  Jefferson,  in  his  comment,  cast  aspersions 
on  Hooper  and  Hewes,  our  delegates  in  the  Continental 
Congress.  His  charges  led  a  patriotic  citizen,  Joseph  Sea- 
well  Jones,  to  prepare  a  Defense  of  North  Carolina,  pub¬ 
lished  perhaps  at  the  expense  of  Maj.  William  Gibbs  Mc¬ 
Neill,  of  Bladen  County,  previously  an  officer  of  the  United 
States  Engineers,  but  then  perhaps  the  greatest  of  the  civil 
engineers  of  this  country,  resident  in  Boston.  This  Defense 
of  North  Carolina  was  the  first  historical  publication  made 

by  any  citizen  of  the  State,  a  volume  of  340  pages,  con- 

Vol.  V.,  329 

Jones’s  de¬ 





The  portrait 
and  statue  of 

Hoyt:  Mur- 
phey’s  Re¬ 

taining  much  valuable  historical  matter  then  first  published. 
It  was  a  complete  answer  to  Jefferson's  aspersions,  and 
Jones's  work  was  admirably  done.  Later,  in  1838,  Jones 
published  a  lovely  volume,  Memorials  of  North  Carolina, 
dealing  with  the  first  settlement  in  Queen  Elizabeth’s  time, 
highly  imaginative  and  beautifully  written,  but  indicating 
much  research  and  literary  attainment. 

When  the  Assembly  met  Yancey  was  chosen  Speaker  by 
the  Senate  and  Saunders  by  the  House,  and  Branch  was 
elected  Governor. 

Two  portraits  of  General  Washington  had  been  ordered, 
one  for  each  room  occupied  by  the  Assembly;  and  the  mar¬ 
ble  statue.  One  of  the  portraits,  made  by  Sully,  had  been 
set  up  in  the  House  of  Commons  and  Governor  Branch 
suggested  that  the  order  for  the  other  might  be  changed  to  a 
portrait  of  some  North  Carolina  patriot.  At  any  rate,  he 
said  the  portrait  was  too  large  to  go  into  the  room  used  for 
a  Senate  Chamber.  As  the  statue  of  Washington  was  now 
soon  to  arrive  the  Assembly  raised  a  committee  to  consider 
where  it  should  be  placed.  At  first  there  was  a  proposition 
to  erect  a  separate  building  for  it,  but  on  the  recommenda¬ 
tion  of  Mr.  Nichols,  the  State  Architect,  that  idea  was 
abandoned.  Instead,  it  was  proposed  to  make  alterations 
in  the  State  House,  providing  suitable  space  for  the  statue, 
and  also  a  place  for  the  Supreme  Court  and  a  larger  room  for 
the  Senate  and  other  rooms  for  committees.  This  idea 
was  adopted  and  $25,000  was  appropriated  for  the  purpose. 
The  new  building  was  to  be  three  stories  high.  There  was 
to  be  a  spacious  rotunda,  with  colonnades  and  ornamenta¬ 
tion  in  keeping  with  the  statue. 

At  this  session,  1819,  Mangum  presented  a  resolution 
reciting  at  length  many  of  the  alleged  defects  of  the  Con¬ 
stitution  and  submitting  the  question  of  a  convention  to  the 
voters.  It  was  discussed  with  warmth,  but  finally  was 


Improved  Conditions 

The  towns. — Judge  Murphey  on  Supreme  Court. — Branch’s 
message. — School  at  Raleigh. — The  Western  College. — Parlia¬ 
mentary  practice. — The  Agricultural  Society. — The  Slavery  prob¬ 
lem. — The  freed  negroes. — The  Colonization  Society. — The  differ¬ 
ing  sentiments. — The  Missouri  Compromise. — Causes  of  concern. 
— Governor  Franklin’s  message. — Dissatisfaction  with  Fulton. — 
The  Literary  Fund. — Roanoke  River  improvement. — Statue  of 
Washington  placed  in  Capitol. — Holmes  Governor. — Death  of 
Franklin. — Donations  to  the  University. — Holmes  urges  improve¬ 
ment  of  rivers  and  of  roads  and  that  agriculture  be  taught  at 
University  and  all  youths  educated. — Board  of  Agriculture. — 
Imprisonment  for  debt  modified. — Improvement  of  the  Cape  Fear. 
— The  Western  Convention. — The  Episcopalians  organize. — The 
first  Geological  Survey. — The  canal  from  Great  Falls  extended 
to  Weldon. — Pressure  for  schools. — Negroes  not  allowed  to  mus¬ 
ter  as  militia. — Episcopalians  allowed  to  build  on  Moore  Square. 

The  relative  importance  of  the  towns  of  the  State  is 
somewhat  indicated  by  the  census  returned  for  1820. 

Fayetteville,  at  the  head  of  the  water  navigation  and  the 
commercial  mart  for  a  large  portion  of  western  country, 
had  1,918  whites;  New  Bern,  the  commercial  center  of  the 
middle  east,  1,475;  Raleigh,  the  seat  of  government,  al¬ 
though  so  new,  1,177;  Wilmington,  with  its  commercial 
importance  and  but  little  back  country,  1,098;  Salisbury  743  ; 
Edenton  634;  Washington  474. 

Changes  in  the  Judiciary 

At  the  June  term  of  the  Supreme  Court  Judge  Murphey, 
by  letters  missive  issued  by  the  Governor,  sat  on  the  Supreme 
Court  to  hear  certain  cases  in  which  some  of  the  justices 
had  been  employed.  Later  that  authority  was  taken  from 
the  executive,  and  Judge  Murphey  was  the  only  Superior 
judge  who  ever  sat  on  the  Supreme  Court.  And  in  that 
year  some  changes  occurred  among  the  judiciary,  for  Judge 







The  tariff 

Journal,  92 

Public  lands 

Ibid.,  93 

At  Raleigh 

Murphey,  after  a  year's  service  retired  from  the  bench, 
being  oppressed  by  pecuniary  losses  incurred  in  land  specu¬ 
lations  and  as  surety  for  others.  To  succeed  him  Governor 
Branch  appointed  William  Norwood  of  Hillsboro. 

Also,  Willie  P.  Mangum,  who  had  likewise  served  but  a 
year,  resigned  and  was  succeeded  by  George  E.  Badger,  who 
was  destined  to  play  even  a  greater  part  in  public  affairs 
than  either  Murphey  or  Mangum. 

It  appears  as  if  the  office  of  Superior  Court  judge  was 
thought  to  be  more  desirable  for  its  opportunities  to  lay  a 
basis  for  public  life  than  for  a  judicial  career.  The  salary 
was  so  small  compared  with  the  earnings  at  the  bar. 

Governor  Branch  in  his  message  called  attention  to  the 
deplorable  condition  of  the  people  of  the  State  and  the  effect 
of  the  depreciation  of  the  bank  currency  incident  to  the  sus¬ 
pension  of  specie  payments,  and  he  emphasized  the  adverse 
effects  on  conditions  of  an  increase  in  the  tariff.  He  recited 
that  our  agricultural  products  were  at  a  very  low  price,  and 
the  State  was  suffering  from  the  exactions  imposed  by  the 
Federal  Government.  As  a  result,  the  Legislature  adopted  a 
resolution  instructing  the  Senators  and  requesting  the  Repre¬ 
sentatives  in  Congress  to  oppose  any  increase  in  the  tariff. 

And  since  Congress  had  appropriated  much  public  land 
in  the  new  states  for  schools,  the  Senators  were  instructed 
and  RepresentatAes  requested  to  have  a  similar  appropria¬ 
tion  of  land  for  the  use  of  public  schools  in  North  Carolina. 

Fayetteville,  not  to  be  behind  Raleigh  in  improvement, 
now  applied  for  and  received  authority  to  have  waterworks. 
But  Raleigh  under  the  influence  of  Joseph  Gales  had  taken 
a  still  further  step  in  advance.  The  ladies  of  that  city 
had  begun  an  organized  effort  to  help  the  poor  girls  and 
educate  the  poor  children  of  their  community  similar  to 
the  action  at  Wilmington,  and  an  act  was  passed : — 
“Whereas  many  ladies  of  Raleigh  have  associated  them¬ 
selves  for  the  purpose  of  relieving  distressed  females  and 
to  promote  the  education  of  poor  children,”  the  association 



was  incorporated,  the  officers  being  “a  first  directress,  a 
secretary  and  twenty  managers.” 

At  that  session  steps  were  taken  in  regard  to  “The  Great 
State  road  that  ran  from  Fayetteville  to  Morganton,  and 
then  through  Ashe  County  to  Tennessee.” 

And  as  the  Western  people  were  not  able  to  send  their 
boys  to  the  University  to  their  satisfaction,  they  desired  a 
western  college  to  be  of  the  same  grade  as  the  University, 
and  on  their  application  a  charter  was  granted  for  “a 
western  college.” 

Governor  Branch’s  three  years  having  expired,  Jesse 
Franklin  was  now  elected  Governor;  and  as  there  were 
“neither  carpeting  nor  furniture  of  any  kind  in  the  second 
story  of  the  Governor’s  Palace,”  $1,000  was  appropriated  to 
supply  them. 

Under  the  rules  of  the  Assembly  when  a  bill  had  passed 
one  reading  in  one  house  it  was  sent  to  the  other  house, 
and  then  after  it  was  acted  on  it  was  returned ;  and  then 
when  acted  on,  it  was  again  sent  to  the  other ;  the  bill  being 
bandied  about  for  three  readings  in  each  house.  Now  that 
rule  was  abrogated,  and  every  bill  was  perfected  in  the 
house  where  it  originated,  and  having  passed  its  three  read¬ 
ings  there  it  was  transmitted  to  the  other  house  for  action. 

The  Agricultural  Society 

The  Agricultural  Society  of  the  State  was  for  a  time  in 
fine  efficiency.  Its  corresponding  secretary  was  George 
W.  Jeffreys  of  Person  County.  Jeffreys  was  energetic  in 
his  efforts  to  promote  agriculture  in  the  State.  He  ob¬ 
tained  a  collection  of  some  twenty  or  thirty  letters  on  the 
subject  of  improvement  in  Virginia  and  Pennsylvania  and 
in  February,  1820,  from  Raleigh  he  sent  them  for  publica¬ 
tion  to  the  American  Farmer  at  Baltimore,  the  first  agricul¬ 
tural  journal  started  in  this  country  and  a  very  important 
one,  having  a  considerable  patronage  in  North  Carolina. 
These  letters  would  make  some  fifty  or  sixty  pages — quarto 

Acts  1820, 
Ch.  75 

The  Western 



Change  in 
passing  bills 





Efforts  to 



The  manu¬ 

— and  were  addressed  to  Mr.  Jeffreys.  The  editor,  John  W. 
Skinner,  announced  them  as  a  “Valuable  Collection  from 
Colonel  Taylor  and  John  Taylor  of  Caroline,  the  Fathers  of 
Improvement  in  Southern  Husbandry;  from  Thomas  Jef¬ 
ferson;  Judge  Richard  Peters  of  Pennsylvania,  Thomas 
Marshall  (brother  of  the  Chief  Justice)  Josiah  Quincy  of 
Massachusetts  and  other  citizens  distinguished  for  talents 
and  public  spirit.  It  seems  to  be  due  to  propriety  and 
gratitude  to  record  our  acknowledgments  to  Mr.  Jeffreys  for 
the  honor  and  benefit  he  has  conferred  on  this  Journal  in 
having  selected  it  as  a  medium  worthy  of  conveying  to  the 
public  the  contents  of  these  valuable  papers.  Many  of  them 
were  addressed  to  Mr.  Jeffreys  as  Corresponding  Secretary 
of  the  Agricultural  Society  in  North  Carolina.’’  Later 
Jeffreys  communicated  his  thoughts  on  deep  ploughing  and 
the  proper  way  to  plant  corn.  Incidentally  he  said:  “If 
I  were  asked  what  was  the  first  and  cardinal  principle  to  be 
kept  in  view  in  the  improvement  of  land,  I  should  answer, 
the  gradual  deepening  of  the  soil.”  Unfortunately,  the 
Society  did  not  long  flourish. 

Slavery:  The  Missouri  Compromise 

During  the  last  year  of  Governor  Branch’s  administra¬ 
tion  the  subject  of  slavery  opened  up  a  very  bitter  sectional 
controversy.  The  South  was  not  indifferent  to  the  general 
subject,  but  whatever  feeling  there  was  favorable  to  manu¬ 
mission  was  checked  by  the  continued  presence  of  the  freed 
slave.  About  1816  manumission  societies  began  to  be 
formed,  chiefly,  however,  among  the  Quakers,  although 
there  were  others  cooperating.  Ten  years  later  there  were 
forty  branches  in  the  State,  of  which  twenty-three  reported 
more  than  one  thousand  members.  And  it  was  said  that 
in  three  years  two  thousand  slaves  were  emancipated  in 
the  State,  a  statement  that  the  census  enumeration  of  free 
blacks  seems  to  sustain.  But  not  content  with  that,  Levi 
Coffin,  an  active  Quaker  about  New  Garden,  devised  and 



put  into  operation  a  system  of  running  off  slaves  into  free 
territory.  This  was  successfully  carried  on  for  years,  and, 
later,  to  such  an  extent  that  it  was  known  as  the  “Under¬ 
ground  Railroad."  The  problem  of  the  free  negro  led  in 
1818  to  the  formation  of  the  American  Colonization  Society. 
The  Assembly  of  North  Carolina  had  passed  a  resolution 
proposing  that  Congress  should  set  aside  in  the  far  west,  on 
the  Pacific  Ocean,  a  territory  which  the  free  blacks  might 
occupy;  but  the  project  did  not  materialize.  The  American 
Colonization  Society  of  which  Judge  Bushrod  Washington 
of  Virginia  was  president,  Henry  Clay,  Andrew  Jackson  and 
other  influential  Southerners  were  members,  had  in  view 
their  colonization  in  Africa. 

In  1819  Rev.  William  Meade  of  Virginia,  (Bishop 
Meade)  was  sent  south  as  an  agent  to  organize  branch 
societies.  He  formed  societies  at  Raleigh,  where  Governor 
Branch  was  president,  Colonel  Polk,  Judge  Taylor,  Joseph 
Gales  and  thirty-five  others  were  members ;  and  societies 
were  formed  at  Chapel  Hill,  Fayetteville,  Greensboro,  Hills¬ 
boro,  Edenton  and  eight  other  points,  among  the  members 
being  men  of  prominence  in  public  affairs. 

Moses  Swaim,  president  of  the  Manumission  Society  and 
the  editor  of  a  newspaper  at  Greensboro  devoted  to  that 
interest,  said  about  that  time  that  “there  were  no  newspapers 
in  the  State  earnestly  defending  slavery;  that  about  half 
the  people  were  ready  to  support  schemes  of  emancipation, 
one-sixth  deemed  it  impracticable  and  relatively  a  small 
number  were  bitterly  opposed."  The  sentiment  against 
slavery  was  natural  to  many,  but  the  difficulties  of  the  situa¬ 
tion  forbade  emancipation  unless  accompanied  by  coloniza¬ 
tion.  Besides,  the  property  was  valuable,  and  especially  in 
the  eastern  counties  most  of  the  families  were  pecuniarily 
interested  and,  without  the  slaves,  their  extensive  planta¬ 
tions  would  be  relatively  valueless  for  the  want  of  labor. 
The  value  of  a  man  between  fifteen  and  forty-five  years  of 
age  was  about  $500,  and,  of  a  woman,  $350;  and  men  ac- 

The  North 



The  coloni¬ 
zation  society 

The  senti¬ 

Weeks :  So. 
Hist.  Assn., 
XI,  2,  110 




The  compro 

A  different 

customed  to  slavery  who  had  inherited  slave  property  were 
loath  to  give  it  up.  Such  was  the  condition  when  slavery 
in  Missouri  became  a  political  question. 

In  1820  the  antagonism  that  New  England  had  displayed 
towards  the  purchase  of  Louisiana  again  manifested  itself. 
The  Territory  of  Missouri,  a  part  of  that  purchase,  in 
December,  1819,  applied  for  admission  as  a  state,  slavery 
being  already  established  there. 

An  amendment  was  proposed  to  the  bill  to  admit  her, 
looking  to  making  her  a  “free  state.”  The  North  had  a 
majority  in  the  House,  and  the  amendment  was  adopted; 
but  in  the  Senate  it  was  stricken  out.  About  the  same 
time  Maine  applied  to  be  admitted,  and  the  northern  mem¬ 
bers  were  willing  for  the  two  states  to  come  in  together ;  but 
while  abandoning  the  amendment  to  the  Missouri  bill,  they 
proposed  instead  that  slavery  should  not  exist  elsewhere  in 
the  Louisiana  purchase  north  36°  30'  which  is  the  line 
of  the  southern  boundary  of  Missouri.  This  was  agreed 
to,  and  the  agreement  has  been  known  as  the  “Missouri 
Compromise.”  All  south  of  that  line  was  to  be  open  to 
the  slaveholder;  but  north  of  it  was  to  be  “free-soil.”  On 
that  basis  Missouri  was  to  be  admitted.  But  a  new  ques¬ 
tion  arose  that  delayed  her  admission.  In  forming  her 
State  constitution  the  convention  inserted  a  requirement  that 
the  Legislature  should  prohibit  the  coming  into  the  State 
of  any  free  negro.  This  was  strongly  objected  to  bv 
northern  representatives  and  the  State  was  not  admitted. 
Linally  in  Lebruary,  1821,  an  act  was  passed  admitting  the 
State  on  condition  that  the  Legislature  should  never  pass 
such  a  law;  and  in  June,  the  Legislature  solemnly  agreed 
to  that  as  a  fundamental  condition;  so  in  August,  1821, 
Missouri  was  admitted  as  a  State  in  the  Union.  This 
struggle  over  the  admission  of  Missouri,  extending  through 
eighteen  months  of  hot  controversy,  was  marked  by  great  bit¬ 
terness,  and  the  sectional  animosity  engendered  ran  high. 
A  correspondent  of  Bartlett  Yancey,  writing  from  Wash- 



ington  February,  1820,  said:  “In  truth  the  discussion  of  this 
matter  has  been  of  the  most  alarming  character  to  the  people 
of  the  southern  and  western  states.  These  Yankee  folks 
have  a  sort  of  notion  that  they  can  emancipate  our  slaves, 
and  have  broadly  hinted  at  the  practicability  and  expediency 
of  such  a  measure.  The  agitation  of  this  question  has 
created  great  warmth  and  excitement  here.  One  would 
suppose  from  the  storm  that  has  been  blowing  here  that  the 
whole  Nation  was  in  a  ferment.” 

Mrs.  Seaton,  writing  from  Washington  during  this  debate,  ^nt  intense 
said :  “Congress  has  been  occupied  during  three  weeks  in 
the  discussion  of  the  Missouri  bill.  The  excitement  during 
this  protracted  debate  has  been  intense.  The  galleries  are 
now  crowded  with  colored  persons,  almost  to  the  exclusion 
of  the  whites.  The  Senators  and  members  generally  are  so 
excited  that  unless  their  angry  passions  are  allowed  to 
effervesce  in  speaking  the  most  terrible  consequences  are 
apprehended  even  by  experienced  statesmen.  On  the  one 
side  there  was  talk  of  breaking  up  the  Union,  on  the  other 
the  North  would  never  assent  to  the  extension  of  slavery.” 

At  length  that  session  at  which  the  compromise  was  made, 
closed  in  May ;  at  the  next  session,  the  question  was  again 
opened,  about  the  exclusion  of  free  negroes  in  Missouri. 

Maine  had  long  been  admitted,  and  all  wanted  the  bargain 
to  be  enforced. 

Mr.  Clay  was  then  instrumental  in  securing  the  adoption 
by  the  House  of  the  act  of  Congress  with  its  “fundamental 
condition”  that  opened  the  way  for  Missouri  to  conform  Missouri’s 
to  the  will  of  the  northern  congressmen';  and  he  became  admisslon 
known  as  “the  pacificator.” 

Conditions  at  home 

The  year  1821  appears  to  have  been  remarkable  for  cir-  1821 
cumstances  that  gave  concern.  Financial  distress  pervaded 
the  State,  and  to  such  an  extent  at  the  west  that  further 
time  was  allowed  to  those  who  had  purchased  State  lands; 






Fulton  un¬ 

while  the-  act  of  Congress,  called  the  Navigation  act,  with 
respect  to  the  British  colonial  system,  bore  so  hard  on  the 
commerce  of  the  eastern  ports  that  a  resolution  was  adopted 
calling  on  representatives  in  Congress  to  ask  its  repeal. 

Besides,  -  the  yellow  fever  had  been  so  violent  at  Wil¬ 
mington  that  the  session  of  the  Superior  Court  could  not  be 
held  there  in  the  fall.  Then  there  was  an  insurrection 
among  the  negroes  in  Onslow,  Carteret  and  Jones  counties, 
as  well  as  in  Bladen  County.  There  had  been  trouble  in 
1810,  and  now  ten  years  later,  the  outbreak  was  both  more 
widespread  and  violent.  The  militia  had  been  called  out  to 
suppress  the  rising,  and  indeed,  the  constant  possibility  of 
insurrection  required  that  attention  should  ever  be  given  to 
the  militia,  and  a  large  part  of  the  time  of  each  Assembly 
was  taken  up  in  electing  militia  officers. 

At  the  session  of  November,  1821,  among  the  new  mem¬ 
bers  were  Francis  L.  Hawks,  Robert  Strange,  Louis  D. 
Henry,  Charles  Fisher,  D.  L.  Barringer,  John  M.  Morehead, 
all  destined  to  distinction ;  and  Otway  Burns  who  had  made 
so  great  a  reputation  on  the  sea. 

When  Governor  Franklin  submitted  his  annual  message, 
he  dwelt  on  the  hard  times  that  were  so  disastrous  to  the 
people;  and  he  recommended  some  changes  in  the  punish¬ 
ment  of  criminals,  especially  urging  that  the  punishment  of 
cropping  ears  should  be  abolished,  and  that  reform  should 
be  the  object  sought  to  be  subserved.  The  subjects  of 
public  schools  and  of  a  constitutional  convention  were  again 
before  the  Assembly,  but  without  favorable  action.  Also, 
a  proposition  that  President  Joseph  Caldwell,  Prof.  Mitchell 
and  Prof.  Olmstead  should  make  a  geological  survey  of  the 
State  and  that  they  report  observations  on  the  climate  and 
natural  productions  as  well  as  the  result  of  their  survey, 
passed  the  House,  but  was  defeated  in  the  Senate. 

There  was  some  manifestation  of  dissatisfaction  at  the 
contract  with  Hamilton  Fulton,  and  a  new  Board  of  Internal 
Improvements  was  chosen:  Isaac  T.  Avery,  Bartlett  Yancey, 



John  D.  Hawkins,  Thomas  Turner  and  Durant  Hatch, 
Jr.  It  was  at  this  session  that  Charles  Fisher’s  proposition 
to  establish  a  Literary  fund  for  the  use  of  public  schools 
was  adopted ;  and  although  some  years  had  to  elapse  before 
the  hope  would  be  realized,  yet  a  step  forward  was  made. 
Charles  Fisher  again  brought  up  the  subject  of  a  consti¬ 
tutional  convention.  The  debate  was  continued  during 
several  days,  but  finally,  the  resolution  was  defeated  in  the 
House  by  81  to  47,  while  in  the  Senate  Mr.  Williamson’s 
proposition  to  the  same  end  was  lost  23  to  36. 

The  proposition  to  improve  Roanoke  Inlet  now  was  in  so 
much  favor  that  a  company  was  incorporated  to  undertake 
the  work. 

The  statue  of  Washington 

Governor  Franklin,  on  November  24,  informed  the  Legis¬ 
lature  that  the  statue  of  Washington  had  been  transported 
to  Boston  on  the  U.  S.  Ship  Columbus ,  Commodore  Bain- 
bridge,  “to  whose  care  and  attention  I  am  greatly  indebted, 
particularly  for  -its  transportation  from  Boston  harbor  to 
Wilmington,  where  it  now  is.”  He  was  then  concerting 
measures  for  its  conveyance  to  Raleigh.  The  Assembly 
thereupon  appointed  a  committee  to  attend  to  its  transpor¬ 
tation  to  Raleigh  and  to  its  being  placed  in  position  in  the 
Capitol  building.  The  statue  was  carried  by  water  to 
Fayetteville.  When  it  reached  Fayetteville  the  State  Archi¬ 
tect,  William  Nichols,  designed  and  constructed  two  special 
vehicles  for  its  transportation  to  Raleigh,  one  for  the  statue 
the  other  for  its  base.  These  vehicles  were  drawn  by  many 
oxen,  and  the  transportation  was  slow ;  but  eventually  the 
train  approached  Raleigh  on  December  24. 

The  statue  was  temporarily  left  on  the  grounds  of  the 
Governor’s  mansion,  and  then  with  a  great  manifestation  of 
public  interest  it  was  conveyed  to  the  State  House.  A 
procession  was  formed,  and  as  it  started,  a  battery  of  artil¬ 
lery  fired  24  guns,  and  the  band  played  patriotic  airs.  The 



Journal,  87 



The  proces¬ 



The  statue 



The  Uni¬ 
versity  lands 

Adjutant-General  was  in  charge,  and  following  the  band 
were  troops,  citizens,  members  of  the  Assembly,  heads  of  the 
departments,  the  Governor ;  Revolutionary  officers,  of  whom 
Colonel  Polk  was  designated  to  carry  the  United  States  Flag. 
Then  came  the  vehicles  with  the  statue  and  base,  under  the 
immediate  care  of  Mr.  Nichols.  At  the  Capitol  Colonel 
Polk  made  a  brief  address  and  the  architect  placed  the 
statue  in  position  in  the  rotunda  designed  for  it. 

While  Cariova  regarded  this  work  as  the  most  important 
that  could  engage  his  great  powers  and  while  the  execution 
was  in  his  finest  style ;  yet  he  seems  to  have  indulged  his 
genius  and  to  have  idealized  his  subject  rather  than  adhered 
closely  to  the  life  mask  with  which  he  had  been  provided. 
Posterity  knows  Washington  from  the  portraits  made  in 
his  old  age ;  Canova  presented  him  as  a  younger  man,  his 
features  not  having  the  expression  the  world  is  familiar 

It  was  a  majestic  figure  in  which  were  idealized  the 
noblest  cpialities  of  mortal  man ;  and,  in  its  finish,  it  was  one 
of  the  best  examples  of  Canova’s  unequaled  excellence  in  his 
art  of  perfect  moulding  and  polishing  his  marble.  That 
North  Carolina  possessed  such  a  treasure  gained  for  the 
State  the  admiration  of  America.  It  was  the  masterpiece 
of  the  sculptor’s  art  and  without  an  equal  among  the  monu¬ 
ments  of  the  world. 

Governor  Franklin  having  declined  a  reelection,  Joseph 
Bryan,  James  Mebane,  H.  G.  Burton  and  Gabriel  Holmes 
were  aspirants  for  the  succession.  Holmes,  of  the  Cape 
Fear  section,  was  taken. 

Franklin  now  retired  from  public  life  and  about  a  year 
later  died  at  his  home  in  Surry  County.  His  mother  was 
a  sister  of  the  Revolutionary  patriot,  Col.  Benjamin  Cleve¬ 
land,  and  one  of  his  sons,  Meshack  Franklin,  was  later  a 
Representative  in  Congress. 

North  Carolina  before  the  cession  of  Tennessee  had  set 
aside  a  certain  territorv  bevond  the  mountains  for  the 



location  of  Revolutionary  land  grants.  Difficulties  later 
arose  concerning  these  grants.  In  1792  Governor  Benja¬ 
min  Smith  had  given  to  the  University  30,000  acres  of  land 
in  Tennessee,  and  Maj.  Charles  Gerrard  of  Carteret  County 
had  likewise  given  it  2,560  acres,  and  the  University  was 
entitled  to  other  lands  by  escheat.  In  1819  Judge  Mur- 
phey  and  Hon.  J.  H.  Bryan  were  employed  to  look  after 
the  interest  of  the  University,  and  they  were  reasonably 

The  management  of  these  western  lands  was  now  confided 
to  a  committee  composed  of  the  Governor,  Col.  Wm.  Polk, 
Henry  Potter,  John  Haywood,  Archibald  Murphey  and 
Thomas  Ruffin.  Col.  Thomas  Henderson,'  editor  of  the 
Raleigh  News,  was  employed  as  agent,  and  by  October, 
1821,  he  was  able  to  turn  over  to  the  University,  beyond 
his  compensation,  warrants  for  147,853  acres.  The  lands 
were  valued  at  about  four  dollars  an  acre.  The  University, 
however,  met  with  further  difficulties,  but  in  May,  1823,  it 
had  the  prospect  of  receiving  $164,230.  Other  warrants 
were  in  addition  to  these.  This  situation  seemed  to  put  the 
institution  on  a  very  substantial  basis  and  gave  a  great  deal 
of  satisfaction  at  that  period. 

Water  transportation 

Governor  Holmes,  in  his  message,  said  that  for  several 
years  we  have  had  the  services  of  an  able  engineer,  who 
has  explored  our  rivers,  pointed  out  the  obstructions  to 
their  navigation  and  given  instructions  as  to  how  they  were 
to  be  removed,  a  zealous  and  intelligent  board,  pushing 
the  projects  by  all  the  means  in  their  power,  and  still  their 
progress  has  been  so  gradual  as  to  be  almost  imperceptible. 
“The  reason  is  obvious,  we  have  not  concentrated  our  money 
in  sums  sufficiently  large  to  effect  the  objects  to  which  it 
has  been  applied.  .  .  .  Had  our  limited  funds  been  origi¬ 
nally  directed  to  a  few  points  of  primary  and  general  impor¬ 
tance,  and  not  dispersed  in  small  sums  throughout  the  State, 

Battle:  Hist. 
Univ.,  I, 

382,  387 





1822,  p.  108 

Board  of 

ment  for 

the  result  would  have  been  more  beneficial  to  every  section. 

.  .  .  For  instance,  if  the  channel  of  the  Cape  Fear  between 
Wilmington  and  the  bar  could  have  been  deepened,  so  as 
to  allow  the  passage  of  vessels  without  the  aid  of  lighters  it 
would  have  been  better.  But  by  dividing  our  strength  so 
much  in  attempting  to  effect  everything  at  once,  we  have 
effected  comparatively  nothing.” 

The  Governor  then  turned  from  water  transportation  and 
dwelt  on  opening  and  improving  the  roads.  He  also  urged 
that  agriculture  should  be  taught  at  the  University  that 
was  now  flourishing  as  never  before,  and  he  strenuously 
advocated  the  education  of  all  the  youths  of  the  State. 
“Let  us  do  something,  however  little;  it  may  prove  in  time 
a  grain  of  mustard  seed.” 

The  Legislature  having  sought  to  inaugurate  means  of 
transportation,  now  in  agreement  with  Governor  Holmes 
gave  some  heed  to  improvement  in  agriculture.  It  estab¬ 
lished  a  Board  of  Agriculture  to  be  composed  of  the  presi¬ 
dents  of  the  several  county  agricultural  societies,  and  it 
appropriated  $5,000  a  year  for  the  promotion  of  agricul¬ 
ture  and  domestic  manufactures.  It  provided  for  premiums 
for  products,  and  for  the  publication  and  dissemination  of 
reports  and  essays  on  agriculture.  Agricultural  societies 
had  already  been  established  in  some  of  the  counties,  and 
now  other  counties  fell  into  line  and  efforts  were  made  to 
improve  the  agriculture  of  the  State. 

The  old  English  law  that  a  debtor  could  be  imprisoned 
for  his  debts  had  ever  been  in  force  in  the  State.  In  1822, 
the  Legislature,  having  regard  to  the  obligations  of  con¬ 
tracts,  but  desirous  of  putting  an  end  to  that  severe  provision 
of  law,  passed  an  act  that  “Any  honest  debtor  may  sur¬ 
render  his  property  and  not  be  subject  to  imprisonment 
for  any  debt  contracted  after  May  1,  1823,”  and  this  was 
followed  the  next  year  by  an  act  forbidding  the  imprison¬ 
ment  of  anv  woman  for  anv  debt. 



The  improvement  of  the  rivers  had  been  so  unproductive 
of  beneficial  results  and  the  salary  and  expenses  of  Fulton 
and  his  assistant,  Brazier,  had  been  so  large,  while  the  value 
of  produce  had  fallen  low  and  the  people  were  in  such  dis¬ 
tress  that  there  was  now  a  '‘necessity  of  offering  a  placebo  to 
the  public  mind,  a  portion  of  which  is  now  much  irritated 
against  the  system”  of  river  improvement ;  and  it  was  there¬ 
fore  proposed  by  a  committee  investigating  the  conditions, 
that  Fulton’s  salary  be  reduced  $500  and  that  a  part  of  his 
time  be  allowed  to  other  states.  Altogether  by  December, 
1822,  Fulton  had  cost  the  State  $19,293  and  Brazier  $5,067. 
Fulton’s  salary  had  been  over  $5,333  besides  expenses. 
The  House  passed  a  resolution  directing  the  board  to  re¬ 
duce  Fulton’s  salary  to  $3,300,  and  if  he  declined  to  accept 
that,  to  give  him  six  months  notice  and  let  him  retire.  Also 
a  bill  having  been  passed  to  improve  the  Cape  Fear  River 
below  Wilmington,  a  memorial  was  prepared  asking  Con¬ 
gress  to  have  that  work  done  or  to  allow  the  State  to  levy 
tolls  on  commerce  to  reimburse  the  State  for  the  expenses. 

Among  the  leading  men  in  the  Senate  were  Duncan 
Cameron,  J.  J.  McKay,  Spaight  and  Seawell,  and  in  the 
House  were  Robert  Strange,  Charles  Fisher,  A.  H.  Shep- 
perd  and  D.  L.  Barringer.  When  the  election  for  Senator 
came  on,  Governor  Branch  was  taken. 



Journal,  94 



The  Western  Convention 

The  movement  for  a  constitutional  convention  started  by 
Murphey’s  report  in  1816  had  been  revived  at  various  times 
by  members  from  the  west.  Duncan  Cameron,  Judge 
Mangum,  John  A.  Cameron  of  Fayetteville  and  Charles 
Fisher  were  among  those  who  introduced  resolutions  with¬ 
out  avail.  At  length,  in  1822,  a  bill  was  introduced  to 
create  the  new  county  of  Davidson  out  of  the  northern  por¬ 
tion  of  Rowan,  and  it  passed,  there  being  no  eastern  county 
created  at  the  time.  This  being  done  by  the  aid  of  eastern 
votes,  raised  a  great  clamor  against  the  eastern  men  who 



Biog.  Hist., 
IV,  330 

The  west 
elects  dele¬ 


Journal,  128 

had  so  voted.  One  of  these  was  Senator  William  Miller, 
the  former  Governor,  a  man  of  sterling  worth  and  a  de¬ 
voted  patriot.  At  the  next  election  he  offered  again  for 
the  Assembly,  but  his  opponent,  Gen.  M.  T.  Hawkins, 
pressed  the  point  against  him,  that  he  had  sacrificed  the 
east,  that  a  convention  could  be  called  and  controlled  by 
the  west,  and  “we  would  lose  our  Constitution.”  Miller 
was  defeated  and  the  other  eastern  members  who  had 
followed  him  in  the  vote  shared  the  same  fate.  Indeed, 
the  east  was  alarmed,  for  in  the  closing  days  of  the  session 
of  1822  a  caucus  of  western  members  was  held  at  which 
it  was  determined  to  hold  a  convention  of  those  who  were  in 
sympathy  with  the  west.  Twenty-four  counties  sent  dele¬ 
gates  who  met  at  Raleigh  just  before  the  Assembly  convened 
in  1823.  Gen.  Montfort  Stokes  presided.  For  a  week 
the  convention  sat,  and  proposed  amendments  to  the  Con¬ 
stitution.  The  proceedings  were  orderly  and  the  proposi¬ 
tion  of  the  West  might  well  have  been  agreed  to.  As  the 
convention  adjourned  the  Assembly  met.  As  soon  as  it 
was  organized  Robert  Martin  of  Rockingham  offered  a 
resolution  in  the  House  reciting  the  election  of  delegates  to 
the  convention  and  their  action,  and  proposing  to  raise  a 
special  committee  to  report  a  bill  to  submit  the  proposed 
amendments  to  the  popular  vote.  But  the  House  did  not 
take  favorable  action. 

The  Lutherans  and  Moravians 

The  thousands  of  German  Lutherans  who  had  before  the 
Revolution  settled  between  the  Yadkin  and  the  Catawba 
were  accompanied  by  their  pastors,  who  in  time  died,  leaving 
unsupplied  vacancies — but  in  1803,  after  the  great  religious 
revival,  the  synod  was  established,  and  in  1811  another 
revival  was  started  and  missionaries  were  sent  out.  Not¬ 
withstanding  the  emigration  of  many  beyond  the  Ohio,  the 
Lutherans  maintained  their  organization — measurably  con¬ 
ducting  their  services  in  German.  And  so  had  the  Mora- 



vians,  who  had  zealously  adhered  to  their  faith  and  had 
multiplied  their  congregations.  Both  of  these  streams  of  set¬ 
tlers,  making  separate  communities  that  in  the  practice  of 
handicraft  were  self-sufficient,  established  centers  of  educa¬ 
tion  that  perpetuated  their  culture  differentiating  them 
from  the  usual  settlements  in  isolated  sections. 

The  Episcopalians  organize 

On  the  the  5th  of  June,  1790,  two  clergymen,  Rev.  Charles 
Pettigrew  and  Rev.  James  L.  Wilson,  and  two  laymen  met 
at  Tarboro  and  held  the  first  Protestant  Episcopal  conven¬ 
tion  and,  in  accordance  with  resolutions  then  adopted,  a  con¬ 
vention  was  held  at  Tarboro  on  November  12,  following. 
At  this  meeting  there  seems  to  have  been  six  or  seven  clergy¬ 
men  present  and  seven  laymen.  Annual  meetings  were  pro¬ 
vided  for,  but  not  held.  In  November,  1793,  three  clergy¬ 
men  and  three  laymen  niet  and  called  a  convention  to  be 
held  the  next  May,  when  seven  clergymen  and  nine  laymen 
attended  and  a  constitution  was  formally  adopted.  In  1807 
Mr.  Pettigrew  died,  and  others  having  died,  in  1815  there 
was  no  Episcopal  clergyman  in  the  State — and  no  conven¬ 
tion  met  until  1817,  when  one  was  held  by  three  clergy¬ 
men  and  six  or  eight  laymen  at  New  Bern  under  Bishop 
Moore  of  Virginia,  who  had  been  invited  to  take  charge  of 
the  diocese.  Then  others  followed.  The  attendance  an¬ 
nually  increased  until  there  were  25  parishes  represented. 
It  is  to  be  remarked  that  the  Lutherans  and  Episcopalians 
for  some  years  sent  delegates  to  each  other’s  meetings. 
In  1823  the  convention  elected  Rev.  John  Starke  Ravens- 
croft  of  Virginia,  Bishop,  who  accepted,  and  that  branch 
of  the  Christian  Church  which  had  ceased  to  exist  as  an 
organization  on  the  breaking  out  of  the  Revolution  was 
again  fully  organized  in  the  State. 





Acts  1823, 
Ch.  14 


Journal,  118 

Jetties  below 

Canal  at 

The  first  geological  survey 

Under  the  stimulus  of  the  necessity  to  have  surveys  made 
with  the  view  of  an  intelligent  understanding  of  conditions 
bearing  on  water  transportation,  Dr.  Mitchell  and  Prof. 
Olmstead  as  well  as  Jonathan  Price,  who  had  made  and 
published  a  map  of  the  State,  were  employed  in  that  work. 
To  meet  these  expenditures  and  to  pay  its  subscription  for 
river  improvements,  the  Legislature  directed  the  issue  of 
$100,000  of  State  notes  and,  having  started  on  the  road  to 
progress,  it  now  directed  the  Board  of  Agriculture  to  have 
made  a  geographical  and  mineralogical  survey  of  the  State. 

The  board  was  authorized  to  employ  a  person  of  skill  and 
science  to  make  such  a  survey.  For  this  $250  a  year  was 
allowed.  Denison  Olmstead,  Professor  of  Chemistry  and 
Mineralogy  was  employed,  and  made  a  report,  the  first 
made  of  any  state,  and  in  1825  he  was  made  Director  of  the 
State  Geological  Survey.  However,  he  soon  resigned  and 
returned  to  Yale  where  he  became  very  distinguished  in  his 
profession.  Thereupon  the  work  was  continued  by  Dr. 
Mitchell,  who  likewise  made  a  report  on  the  geology  of  the 

When  the  Assembly  met  Governor  Holmes,  still  pressing 
the  subject  of  agriculture,  urged  the  establishment  of  an  ex¬ 
perimental  farm  at  the  University. 

The  contractors  to  erect  jetties  below  Wilmington  for 
river  improvement  were  Richard  Taylor  and  Edward  Wil¬ 
liams,  but  they  employed  Hinton  James  to  do  the  work;  the 
cost  was  to  be  $15,000.  James  was  the  first  student  to 
enter  the  University  and  became  an  engineer.  The  Gov¬ 
ernor  was  highly  pleased  with  the  operations  that  prom¬ 
ised  very  beneficial  results.  The  Roanoke  Navigation  Com¬ 
pany  had  extended  the  canal  from  the  Great  Falls  to  the 
Weldon  orchard.  From  the  orchard  to  the  river  there  was 
a  portage  and  the  Governor  recommended  continuing  the 
canal  to  the  river.  There  was  so  much  enthusiasm  over 



navigation  that  now  a  proposition  was  seriously  made  for 
a  canal  from  the  Falls  of  the  Neuse  to  Swift  Creek. 

The  agitation  for  public  schools,  begun  with  emphasis 
by  Murphey,  had  proceeded  year  by  year,  but  the  subject 
was  considered  less  pressing  than  the  transportation  prob¬ 
lem  ;  now  new  impetus  was  given  to  it  by  the  proposition 
that  Congress  should  apportion  to  the  old  states  public  lands 
in  the  immense  territorial  domain  of  the  Union.  Besides, 
possibly,  the  Assemblymen  were  urged  on  by  an  object 
lesson  in  their  sight  at  Raleigh,  where  the  Female  Benevo¬ 
lent  Society,  fostered  by  Gales,  had  already  established  a 
school  for  the  poor  children.  Year  by  year  additional  in¬ 
terest  was  manifested,  and  now  the  scholarly  Joseph  A. 
Hill  of  New  Hanover  brought  forward  a  resolution  in¬ 
structing  the  Committee  on  Education  to  report  a  bill  for 
public  schools,  which  was  passed.  The  House  seemed  to 
be  responsive. 

Free  negroes  had  all  along  been  required  to  do  militia 
duty  as  other  citizens,  but  now  the  attitude  of  the  races  be¬ 
came  so  changed  that  the  question  of  prohibiting  them  from 
attending  at  musters  was  brought  before  the  Assembly. 
However,  the  subject  was  not  acted  on.  The  Governor 
extolled  the  previous  Legislature  for  its  action  in  abolishing 
imprisonment  for  debt  and  urged  a  further  amendment 
of  the  ancient  law  by  abolishing  “the  cropping  of  ears”  as  a 
punishment,  as  his  predecessor  had  done ;  and  he  likewise 
suggested  that  “whipping”  be  abolished  and  that  the  pun¬ 
ishment  for  theft  should  not  be  equal  to  that  for  murder ; 
and  he  again  urged  the  establishment  of  a  penitentiary. 

Since  1815  the  election  of  Presidential  electors  had  been 
by  a  general  ticket ;  now  it  was  proposed  to  elect  by  dis¬ 
tricts,  but  unavailingly.  And  the  western  members  again 
brought  up  their  grievances  to  a  deaf  house. 


for  schools 



The  vestry  of  the  Episcopal  Church  at  Raleigh  was 
authorized  to  erect  a  temporary  building  on  the  southwest 
corner  of  Moore  Square  for  worship ;  but  a  motion  “to 
adjourn  over  on  the  anniversary  of  the  birthday  of  our 
Saviour”  failed — yeas  7,  nays  103,  and  that  at  a  time  when 
specie  payments  were  suspended  and  there  was  much  finan¬ 
cial  distress  and  much  sickness  throughout  the  State. 


Lafayette — Carlton  Letters 

The  Congressional  caucus. — The  People’s  Ticket. — Jackson  and 
Calhoun. — Election  by  the  House. — Clay  elects  Adams. — Clay’s 
reason. — The  era  of  good  will. — The  “New  School.” — The  Cape 
Fear  improved. — Free  negroes  go  to  Hayti. — Congress  and  State 
reject  negroes  for  military  service. — Ashe  and  Hill  offer  bills 
for  schools. — The  House  appoints  commissioners  to  prepare  a 
plan. — The  visit  of  Lafayette. — The  agitation  for  public  schools. 
— Sunday  schools  in  Orange. — The  schools  at  Wilmington  and 
Raleigh. — The  educated  men. — Charles  Hill’s  bill. — The  Literary 
Fund. — The  report  of  the  Taylor  Commission. — A  new  Board  of 
Internal  Improvements. — Fulton  resigns. — The  Legislature  acts. 
— Emancipation  propositions. — The  Legislature  to  meet  last 
Monday  of  December. — Judge  Badger  resigns,  succeeded  by  Ruf¬ 
fin. — Fauntleroy  Taylor  Attorney-General. — Governor  Burton 
urges  better  transportation  facilities  to  cure  emigration. — Ver¬ 
mont’s  resolutions. — The  Legislature  prohibits  free  negroes  from 
settling  in  the  State. — Roanoke  iS'teamboat  Company. — McRae’s 
map. — Other  publications. — The  Geological  Survey. — The  gold 
fever. — The  Carson-Vance  duel. — The  tariff  question. — The  Bill 
of  Abominations. — Popular  sentiment  against  governmental  aid. 
— The  Carlton  letters. — Caldwell  urges  a  railroad. — His  wonder¬ 
ful  excellence. — The  North  Carolina  Institution  for  Deaf  and 
Dumb. — Lotteries. — Governor  Iredell. — Murphey  employs  Ney. — 
The  Masons. 

The  election  of  1824 

It  had  been  the  practice  for  twenty-four  years  for  the 
Representatives  in  Congress  to  hold  a  caucus  and  recom¬ 
mend  candidates  for  the  presidency.  But  now  the  friends 
of  some  of  the  aspirants  raised  objections  to  that  course. 
The  aspirants  were  Adams,  Crawford  of  Georgia,  Calhoun, 
Clay  and  Jackson.  The  first  three  were  in  Monroe’s  cab¬ 
inet;  Clay  had  been  the  Speaker  of  the  House,  and  Jackson 
was  a  military  hero  and  then  in  the  Senate ;  all 
but  Adams  were  southerners  and  strong  Republicans. 
Crawford  was  the  favorite  of  most  of  the  southern  Rep- 








The  People’s 

The  election 
goes  to  the 

resentatives.  He  was  also  the  favorite  of  the  Assemblymen. 
But  Charles  Fisher  was  opposed  to  Crawford,  and  so  he 
introduced  in  the  House  of  Commons  a  strong  protest  and 
resolutions  against  a  congressional  caucus  presenting  a  can¬ 
didate  for  the  presidency.  This  was  debated  with  great 
interest;  but  it  failed  to  be  adopted  by  a  vote  of  46  to  82. 
It  was  aimed  against  Crawford,  who  was  strong  in  the  State, 
and  before  the  Assembly  adjourned  his  friends  met  and  put 
out  an  electoral  ticket  for  him ;  and,  later,  the  friends  of  the 
other  candidates  put  out  “A  People’s  Ticket,”  those  named 
on  it  engaging  by  agreement  to  support  in  the  college  that 
candidate  who  stood  the  best  chance  of  defeating  Crawford. 

On  February  14  the  congressional  caucus  was  held  at 
Washington.  Macon  and  Conner  of  Catawba  did  not  at¬ 
tend,  although  Macon  was  a  supporter  of  Crawford.  In¬ 
deed,  not  a  fourth  of  the  members  attended  as  it  was  a 
movement  for  Crawford  and  the  friends  of  the  other  can¬ 
didates  gave  it  no  countenance.  Soon  afterwards  Calhoun 
agreed  to  accept  the  vice-presidency  under  Jackson,  who 
had  developed  great  popular  strength ;  and  Crawford  suf¬ 
fered  a  stroke  of  paralysis,  and  later  became  almost  blind, 
so  that  his  physical  condition  apparently  incapacitated  him. 
While  the  State  was  divided  into  fifteen  districts,  the 
election  of  electors  was  by  the  State  at  large.  The  People’s 
ticket  won  by  a  vote  of  20,177  over  the  Crawford  ticket, 
which  polled  15,396,  and  the  electoral  vote  of  15  was  given 
to  Jackson.  The  entire  popular  vote  as  far  as  ascertained 
was  for  Adams  108,740,  chiefly  from  the  North,  Jackson 
153,544,  Clay  47,136,  Crawford  only  46,618.  In  the  elec¬ 
toral  college  Jackson  had  99  votes,  Adams  84,  Crawford  41 
and  Clay  37.  The  election  was  thus  thrown  into  the  House, 
each  state  having  a  single  vote.  Clay  could  not  be  consid¬ 
ered  in  the  House,  and  he  gave  the  vote  of  Kentucky  to 
Adams,  notwithstanding  the  legislature  of  that  state  had 
expressed  a  preference  for  Jackson.  After  a  long  struggle 
Adams  was  elected. 



On  retiring  from  office,  March  7,  1829,  Clay  indicated 
that  he  was  afraid  that  the  military  hero,  Jackson,  would 
seize  the  reins  of  power  and  become  a  dictator.  “I  thought 
I  beheld  in  his  election  an  awful  foreboding  of  the  fate 
which  was  to  befall  this  infant  republic.” 

This  was  the  era  of  good  will,  so  in  the  Governor’s  ad¬ 
dress  he  said :  “The  general  expressions  of  approbation 
which  all  parties  are  constrained  to  make  of  the  present  ad¬ 
ministration  is  an  evidence  of  the  wisdom  and  a  proud  com¬ 
ment  on  the  justice  and  impartiality  of  our  enlightened 
chief  magistrate.  His  equanimity  and  liberal  views  have 
reconciled  the  two  great  contending  parties,  diffusing 
throughout  the  Republic  mildness,  concord  and  brother¬ 

Still  there  were  divergences  among  the  public  men.  The 
“new  school,”  embracing  Adams,  Clay  and  their  followers, 
wrote  Mangum,  “has  taken  the  principles  of  the  Old  Feder¬ 
alists  but  press  their  principles  much  further;  especially 
in  the  latitudinous  construction  of  the  Constitution.” 

Governor  Holmes’s  three  years  had  now  expired,  and 
nominations  for  a  successor  included  Hutchins  G.  Burton 
of  Halifax,  Montfort  Stokes,  Alfred  Moore,  Simmons  J. 
Baker  and  Isaac  T.  Avery.  Several  ballots  were  taken  and 
at  length  Burton  was  chosen. 

Governor  Holmes  reported  that  the  principal  work  of 
Mr.  Fulton  and  the  Board  of  Internal  Improvements  as  to 
rivers  had  been  confined  to  the  Cape  Fear  River ;  that 
“below  Wilmington  the  result  was  excellent,  and  that 
steamboats  now  ran  60  miles  above  Wilmington  at  the 
lowest  water,  and  within  a  year  they  are  expected  to  ply 
to  Fayetteville  at  the  lowest  water.”  But  while  expecting 
similar  improvement  in  all  the  rivers  he  urged  the  impor¬ 
tance  of  good  roads.  Likewise,  he  again  urged  reform 
of  the  criminal  laws  and  the  opening  of  public  schools. 
He  mentioned  that  the  great  number  of  slaves  lately  eman¬ 
cipated  had  led  to  a  considerable  emigration  to  Hayti,  and 

Speeches,  I, 

The  new 




On  the 
Cape  Fear 



Negroes  not 

Ashe's  Bill 

Journal,  28 

Ibid.,  138 

he  suggested  that  the  State  should  be  protected  from  any 
return  of  these  negroes ;  but  it  was  considered  that  the  ex¬ 
isting  law  was  sufficient.  The  negro  question  had  found  its 
way  also  into  Congress.  Should  free  negroes  be  soldiers? 
Congress  passed  an  act  excluding  them  from  bearing  arms 
as  soldiers,  and  the  Legislature  in  conformity  now  directed 
that  the  names  of  free  negroes  be  stricken  from  the  militia 
muster  rolls.  Such  was  the  beginning  of  an  interesting 
question,  was  a  negro  a  citizen?  In  North  Carolina,  at 
least,  he  could  vote,  when  free. 

Quickly  following  the  meeting  of  the  Assembly,  Sam 
Porter  Ashe  offered  a  resolution  for  the  establishment  of 
schools  for  the  education  of  the  poor;  requiring  the  Com¬ 
mittee  on  Education  to  report  a  plan  for  a  permanent  fund 
and  to  report  a  system  for  such  schools.  And  in  the  Senate, 
Charles  A.  Hill  of  Franklin  reported  a  bill  of  like  tenor 
that  passed  the  Senate  38  to  16.  The  House  was,  however, 
averse  to  such  action ;  nevertheless,  in  the  closing  days  of 
the  session  the  House  passed  a  resolution  appointing  Chief 
Justice  Taylor,  President  Caldwell,  Judge  Duncan  Cameron 
and  Peter  Browne  commissioners  to  prepare  a  plan  or  sys¬ 
tem  of  public  instruction  of  poor  children,  and  report  the 
same  to  the  next  Assembly. 

The  legislation  of  previous  years  had  proved  effective, 
and  numerous  agricultural  societies  had  been  formed  in  the 
counties;  and  now  the  Assembly  extended  the  act  of  1822 
for  two  years  longer. 

Nor  was  the  Assembly  indifferent  to  the  health  of  the 
people.  In  1824  an  act  was  passed  to  prevent  the  intro¬ 
duction  into  communities  of  contagious  diseases,  and  in¬ 
vesting  the  local  authorities  with  power  to  take  all  precau¬ 
tionary  measures. 

Visit  of  Lafayette 

Great  interest  was  felt  in  the  proposed  visit  of  Lafayette. 
Governor  Holmes  dispatched  Gen.  Robert  R.  Johnson  to 


wait  on  Lafayette  at  Yorktown  and  formally  invite  him  to 
visit  the  State ;  and  it  was  understood  that  the  General 
would  arrive  at  Raleigh  about  December  20.  The  Assembly 
therefore  appointed  a  committee  to  attend  the  honored 
guest,  and  an  appropriation  was  made  to  meet  the  expenses. 
But  the  movements  of  the  General  were  so  far  different 
that  he  did  not  cross  the  North  Carolina  line  until  Feb¬ 
ruary  27,  1825.  He  was  met  at  Northampton  Courthouse 
by  Chief  Justice  Taylor,  Col.  William  Polk,  Gen.  William 
Williams  of  Warren,  Col.  J.  G.  A.  Williamson  of  Person, 
General  Daniels  and  Major  Stanly,  representatives  of  the 
State  for  that  purpose.  He  was  received  with  much 
warmth  there  and  also  at  Halifax.  On  approaching  Raleigh 
on  March  2,  he  was  received  by  Captain  Ruffin’s  company 
of  Blues  and  the  Mecklenburg  troop  of  cavalry.  He  was 
entertained  at  the  Governor’s  mansion  by  Governor  Burton. 
He  was  later  conducted  to  the  State  House  where  he  viewed 
the  statue  of  Washington ;  and  there  he  was  addressed  by 
Colonel  Polk  in  behalf  of  the  citizens  of  the  town,  and  the 
ovation  given  him  at  the  State’s  capital  was  as  perfect  as 
could  be  desired.  Accompanied  by  his  son,  George  Wash¬ 
ington  Lafayette,  after  two  days  passed  at  Raleigh,  he  took 
the  route  to  Fayetteville,  escorted  by  the  Mecklenburg  cav¬ 
alry  and  the  delegation  appointed  by  the  State  for  that  pur¬ 
pose.  Fayetteville  had  been  so  named  in  his  honor :  a  cir¬ 
cumstance  that  appealed  to  him,  and  his  visit  there  was 
greatly  enjoyed.  Ten  miles  from  Fayetteville  he  was  met  by 
the  Fayetteville  companies,  and  at  Clarendon  bridge  by  the 
mayor  and  commissioners,  and  a  procession  was  formed  of 
the  troops,  and  amidst  the  joyful  roar  of  artillery  he  was  es¬ 
corted  into  the  town  named  in  his  honor  many  years  earlier. 
There  was  a  great  demonstration  in  token  of  the  admiration 
and  affection  of  the  citizens ;  and  then  the  General  had  to 
hurry  forward  to  Cheraw  where  he  was  to  officiate  in  laying 
the  cornerstone  of  the  monument  to  the  heroic  DeKalb, 
who  fell  there  in  defense  of  North  Carolina.  At  that  time, 







as  described  by  the  Rev.  Robert  C.  Belden,  the  General 
w as  “somewhat  corpulent,  above  medium  stature  and  broad 
shouldered."  He  evidently  retained  his  vigor  well.  The 
son,  George  Washington,  was  a  fine  specimen  of  a  man, 
well  proportioned,  graceful  in  carriage  and  of  easy  manners. 
He  had  earlier  passed  some  time  in  this  country  and  was 
familiar  with  our  American  customs. 

Tlie  first  step  for  public  schools 

The  agitation  for  the  public  schools  was  continuous,  but 
the  subject  was  considered  less  pressing  than  that  of  im¬ 
proving  transportation  facilities,  and  it  is  noteworthy  that 
the  members  of  the  House  of  Commons  representing  man¬ 
hood  were  not  so  eager  to  adopt  a  system  as  those  of  the 
Senate  representing  property.  Annually  the  Governors 
urged  the  establishment  of  public  schools,  and  bills  would 
be  introduced  in  each  House.  Sometimes  the  Senate  would 
act  favorably  on  such  measures,  but  the  House  would  re¬ 
ject  the  bills.  At  length  at  the  session,  November,  1822, 
an  impetus  was  given  to  the  subject  by  a  movement  among 
some  of  the  original  states  to  have  Congress  apportion  to 
them  a  part  of  the  public  domain  for  an  educational  fund, 
as  was  the  settled  policy  and  practice  with  regard  to  the  new 
states.  A  strong  and  urgent  memorial  to  that  end  was 
drawn  to  be  presented  to  Congress  and  communicated  to 
the  other  states  requesting  their  cooperation.  Should  that 
succeed,  the  object  would  be  accomplished;  but  Congress 
took  no  action.  In  the  meantime,  the  benevolence  of  com¬ 
munities  began  to  find  expression.  In  1817  there  was 
formed  at  Wilmington  a  society,  of  which  Eliza  Lord  was 
the  head,  to  secure  to  poor  children  and  destitute  orphans 
a  moral  and  religious  as  well  as  a  common  school  education. 
A  few  years  earlier  Sunday  schools  had  been  started  in 
England  at  which  poor  children  were  taught  to  read  and 
write  and  given  religious  instruction,  and  such  schools  were 



begun  in  some  of  the  states,  and  in  some  of  the  counties  of 
this  State.  In  a  memorial  to  the  Assembly  in  1825,  it  was 
stated :  “The  Sunday  School  Society  of  Orange  County  has 
under  its  care  twenty-two  schools,  in  which  are  instructed 
from  800  to  1,000  children,  many  of  whom,  the  children  of 
the  poor  who  would  otherwise  have  been  brought  up  in  In  Orange 
utter  ignorance  and  vice,  have  been  taught  to  read  and  write 
and  trained  to  habits  of  moral  reflection  and  conduct.” 

The  memorialists  asked  for  twenty-five  cents  for  every 
Sunday  learner  in  that  county  and  for  all  the  other  Sunday 
schools  in  the  State.  Among  the  memorialists  were  Judge 
Webb,  Judge  Norwood,  Judge  Nash  and  .others  distin¬ 
guished  in  public  and  civil  life.  While  taught  on  Sunda}', 
the  lessons  were  in  the  three  R’s. 

At  Raleigh  there  was  a  school  where  some  fifty  children  At  Raleigh 
were  taught.  These  were  not  merely  instructed  on  Sunday 
but  regularly  five  days  during  the  week.  The  society  that 
maintained  this  school  purchased  materials  which  poor  fe¬ 
males  were  employed  to  spin  and  weave,  the  clothes  being 
sold  for  the  use  of  the  society,  and  a  school  was  kept  for 
the  instruction  of  the  children.  But  notwithstanding  these 
and  similar  object  lessons  in  other  parts  of  the  State,  and 
notwithstanding  the  urgent  appeals  of  the  press,  all  propo¬ 
sitions  to  raise  funds  by  taxation  or  otherwise  for  common 
school  purposes  had  been  regularly  defeated. 

The  public  men 

At  that  period  there  was  no  lack  of  great,  strong  men  in 
the  State.  Some  of  the  Revolutionary  patriots  still  lin¬ 
gered  on  the  stage  and  there  was  a  bevy  of  younger  men 
of  particular  merit.  Judge  Duncan  Cameron  stood  high 
among  them ;  Chief  Justice  Taylor,  Gaston,  Iredell,  Mur- 
phey,  Ruffin,  the  Hendersons,  Mangum,  Badger,  Meares, 

Bedford  Brown,  Strange,  the  Hills,  Hawkins,  Wilson,  Cald¬ 
well,  Henry,  Edmund  Jones,  Morehead  and  others  were 
men  cast  in  a  superior  mould ;  nor  should  it  be  assumed  that 



on  academies 




The  plan 

the  absence  of  public  education  caused  a  blight  upon  the 
intelligence  of  the  public  men.  North  Carolina  had  not 
been  different  from  the  other  states.  Her  sons  were  equal 
to  the  best.  She  stood  well  abreast  of  the  other  states  in 
the  matter  of  higher  education.  The  census  shows  that  in 
1840  she  had  8,335  pupils  in  the  academies  and  colleges. 
Allowing  a  four  years  course,  every  year  2,000  young  men 
entered  upon  the  activities  of  life  and  aided  in  diffusing  gen¬ 
eral  intelligence ;  and  similarly,  among  the  mothers.  In¬ 
deed  it  was  said  in  1824,  '‘Perhaps  we  have  in  our  State 
more  schools  for  the  languages  and  sciences  than  the  cir¬ 
cumstances  of.  the  country  call  for." 

When  the  Senate  organized  in  1825,  Charles  A.  Hill, 
W.  M.  Sneed,  Geo.  L.  Dawson,  Edmund  Jones  and  M.  T. 
Hawkins  were  appointed  the  Committee  on  Education  and 
Primary  Schools.  They  soon  reported  a  bill  providing  for 
a  fund  for  the  establishment  of  public  schools,  vesting  the 
same  in  a  literary  board  created  by  the  act.  The  fund 
embraced  certain  dividends,  the  unexpended  balance  of  the 
agricultural  swamp  lands,  twenty-one  hundred  dollars  in 
cash,  and  some  other  resources.  When  the  accumulation 
should  be  sufficient  the  proceeds  were  to  be  used  for 
schools.  This  bill  passed  both  Houses,  but  while  it  was  a 
beginning  of  an  earnest  endeavor  for  public  schools,  years 
were  to  pass  before  the  income  was  sufficient  for  any  prac¬ 
tical  purpose. 

At  that  session  a  report  was  made  by  the  commission  ap¬ 
pointed  the  year  before  to  prepare  a  plan  of  public  education. 
It  was  a  well  considered  plan,  proposing  that  the  justices 
of  each  county  should  borrow  money  for  the  purpose  and 
lay  a  tax  to  meet  the  interest,  but  as  yet  the  Assembly  was 
not  ready  to  lay  a  tax  for  the  education  of  the  poor.  Nor 
would  they  appropriate  money  to  promote  literary  efforts ; 
when  aid  was  desired  for  the  publication  of  a  history  of 
the  State  by  Judge  Murphev,  they  instead  authorized  him  to 
have  a  lottery.  At  that  period  the  taxes  were  low  and  the 



aversion  to  taxation  was  positive.  In  February,  1827,  Mr. 
King  of  Iredell  introduced  a  bill  for  the  encouragement  of 
Sunday  schools  as  follows :  “Whenever  a  Sunday  school  is 
established  the  object  of  which  is  to  instruct  poor  and  indi¬ 
gent  children  in  the  art  of  reading  and  writing,  the  Treasury 
was  to  pay  twenty-five  cents  for  each  child.”  But  the  bill 
failed.  On  the  other  hand,  a  bill  was  offered  to  repeal  the 
act  establishing  the  Literary  Fund.  However,  on  this  an 
adverse  report  was  made  by  Morehead,  chairman.  More- 
head  declared  that  “states  having  the  means  at  command 
are  morally  criminal  if  they  neglect  to  contribute  to  each 
citizen  that  individual  usefulness  and  helpfulness  which 
arises  from  a  well-cultured  understanding.  .  .  .  Your  com¬ 
mittee  believe  that  it  is  the  duty  and  the  interest  of  North 
Carolina  to  instruct  that  part  of  her  population  who  do  not 
possess  the  means  of  acquiring  a  useful  education.” 


1  he  valuation  of  lands  and  property  was  left  to  two  ap¬ 
praisers  appointed  each  year  by  the  justices  of  the  county, 
and  a  magistrate.  The  owner  gave  in  a  list  of  his  prop¬ 
erty.  The  State  tax  was  six  dollars  on  the  hundred  acres. 
The  county  justices  levied  such  taxes  as  they  thought 


The  efforts  to  improve  water  transportation  had  been 
disappointing.  Nearly  half  of  the.  Assembly  and  a  large 
proportion  of  the  inhabitants  felt  aggrieved  at  the  salary 
paid  to  the  engineer,  Fulton,  and  at  every  session  there 
were  propositions  to  reduce  it  which  such  able  and  far¬ 
sighted  leaders  as  Judge  Cameron  were  able  to  defeat, 
leaving  it  to  the  board  to  manage  the  matter.  Finallv,  in 
1824,  the  attack  took  a  new  turn  and  entirely  new  members 
were  elected  to  compose  the  board.  James  Iredell  of  the 


Fulton  re¬ 






Albemarle  section,  Edward  B.  Dudley  and  Col.  Daniel  M. 
Forney  of  Lincoln  County  were  elected  and,  with  the  Gov¬ 
ernor,  were  now  to  have  control  of  internal  improvements. 
This  action  was  based  on  the  complaint  that  much  money 
had  been  unnecessarily  expended  and  the  works  were  im¬ 
properly  conducted.  Mr.  Fulton  thereupon  resigned.  But 
the  Assembly  had  hopes  of  improving  the  rivers  without 
his  aid,  and  it  directed  that  a  steam  dredge  should  be  bought 
and  $6,000  was  appropriated  to  clear  out  the  flats  below 
Wilmington ;  and  the  Cotton  Plant  Steamboat  Company 
was  incorporated  to  run  boats  on  the  Cape  Fear.  But 
thoughts  now  turned  to  the  highways  and  the  Board  of 
Internal  Improvements  was  urged  to  further  the  construc¬ 
tion  of  turnpikes  even  by  subscribing  in  some  cases  one- 
half  of  the  necessary  stock. 


The  Governor  laid  before  the  Assembly  resolutions  pro¬ 
posed  by  Ohio  “for  the  gradual  emancipation  of  slaves  and 
the  colonization  of  free  people  of  color”  which  had  been 
highly  approved  by  the  Legislatures  of  Indiana,  Delaware, 
Connecticut  and  Illinois.  In  regard  to  this  proposition,  the 
ioo  Governor  made  but  a  single  remark  that  he  indulged  the 
hope  that  the  nonslaveholding  states  will  shortly  learn  and 
practice  what  has  familiarly  been  termed  the  Eleventh 
Commandment :  “Let  every  one  attend  to  his  own  concerns.” 

Similarly  a  proposition  to  repeal  so  much  of  the  act  of 
1741  as  required  that  negro  apprentices  should  be  taught 
to  read  and  write  was  defeated,  the  Legislature  adhering 
to  its  position  taken  in  1818,  when  William  B.  Meares  of 
Wilmington  offered  a  bill  “to  prevent  all  persons  from 
teaching  slaves  to  read  and  write,  the  use  of  figures-  ex¬ 
cepted,”  and  it  was  defeated.  The  Quakers  at  their  annual 
meeting  in  the  fall  of  1825,  resolved  to  inaugurate  a  move¬ 
ment  to  remove  the  colored  people  held  by  them  that  were 
willing  to  leave  this  country.  Their  effort  had  this  result : 



120  went  to  Hayti,  316  to  Liberia  and  100  to  Ohio  and 
Indiana.  They  were  to  sail  from  Beaufort  in  June,  1826. 

The  society  had  earlier  sent  off  64  to  Ohio  and  58  to  Liberia. 

In  June,  Judge  Badger,  after  four  years  on  the  Superior 
Court  bench,  resigned  and  Thomas  Ruffin  was  appointed  Judo.eRuffin 
by  Governor  Burton  to  fill  the  vacancy  temporarily.  The 
Assembly  at  its  session  elected  him.  While  he  had  earlier 
served  two  years,  this  return  to  the  bench  marked  the  be-  1826 
ginning  of  a  judicial  career  of  unrivaled  luster  in  the  State. 

On  January  2,  1826,  William  Drew  of  Halifax,  having 
served  six  years  as  Attorney-General,  was  not  a  candidate  Taylor6™7 
for  reelection.  James  F.  Taylor,  Daniel  L.  Barringer  and 
G.  E.  Spruill  were  in  nomination.  Mr.  Taylor  was  elected. 

He  was  originally  of  Chatham,  but  having  moved  to  Wake, 
was  in  1823  a  member  of  the  House  from  that  county.  He 
had  married  Miss  Manning  who  had  been  a  member  of  the 
family  of  Judge  Gaston’s  mother  and  on  her  death  a  mem¬ 
ber  of  Chief  Justice  Taylor’s  household;  so,  although  there 
was  no  connection  between  the  two  Taylors,  Judge  Gaston 
was  intimately  associated  with  the  two  Mesdames  Taylor. 

As  the  date  for  the  meeting  of  the  Assembly  was  not 
entirely  satisfactory  a  change  was  now  made.  The  next 
meeting  was  to  be  on  the  last  Monday  in  December,  and 
thereafter  it  was  to  be  on  the  second  Monday  in  January, 
but  that  was  not  found  convenient  and  was  discontinued. 

Governor  Burton,  in  his  message,  made  reference  to  the 
disastrous  year,  the  result  of  a  severe  drought,  saying  that  a  bad  year 
“the  chastening  hand  of  an  all  wise  Providence  has  come 
heavily  on  particular  sections  of  our  State.”  He  strongly 
urged  primary  public  education  and  then  in  connection  with 
internal  improvements,  said :  “We  all  know  that  in  partic¬ 
ular  sections  of  the  State,  the  greatest  distress  is  at  present 
apprehended  among  the  poorer  classes  of  our  citizens  from 
the  deficiency  of  the  various  crops.”  He  urged  “Facilitate 
intercourse  between  the  different  sections  of  the  State.  .  .  . 

Open  your  water-courses,  repair  your  old  roads  and  make 






What  is  a 



Dec.  1826 

new  ones,  then  the  failure  of  crops  in  some  few  counties 
would  not  have  the  effect  of  thinning  a  population  already 
too  much  scattered  and  diminished.  .  .  .  What  can  stay  the 
tide  of  emigration  now  flowing  to  the  west  but  the  im¬ 
provement  of  our  own  State?"  Indeed  emigration  was 
directly  attributed  to  the  want  of  facilities  to  get  products 
to  market,  the  cost  of  transportation  being  more  than  the 
market  value. 

Vermont  had  adopted  a  resolution  that  “slavery  was  an 
evil  and  that  Vermont  would  concur  in  any  measure- adopted 
by  the  general  government  for  its  abolition  that  would  be 
consistent  with  the  rights  of  the  people  and  the  general 
harmony.”  With  regard  to  this,  the  Governor  “deplored 
outside  interference,  as  tending  to  incite  insurrection  and 
resulting  in  a  reversal  of  the  prevailing  policy  at  the  South 
of  ameliorating  the  condition  of  the  negroes,”  and  he  sug¬ 
gested  that  as  other  states  were  now  prohibiting  free  negroes 
from  settling  in  them,  so  should  this  State  in  self  protection, 
do  the  same.  The  Assembly  in  response  passed  an  act 
prohibiting  free  negroes  from  settling  in  this  State,  and  it 
declared  “All  free  mulattoes  descended  from  negro  ancestors 
to  the  fourth  generation  inclusive,  though  one  ancestor  in 
each  generation  may  have  been  a  white  person,  come  within 
the  meaning  of  this  act.” 

Public  roads  were  directed  to  be  laid  off,  among  them  the 
State  road  in  Surry  County  and  in  Wilkes  County  from 
Lincolnton  to  Rutherfordton  and  from  Salisbury  to  Lin- 
colnton.  Money  was  appropriated  for  the  Clubfoot  Canal 
and  for  the  Cape  Fear  River,  and  a  charter  was  granted  to 
Cadwallader  Jones  and  others  for  the  Roanoke  Steamboat 
Company  to  build  steamboats  to  ply  on  the  sounds  and 
Roanoke  River,  and  the  New  Bern  Marine  and  Fire  Insur¬ 
ance  Company  was  incorporated. 

The  Assembly  had  met  on  the  last  Monday  in  December, 
which  that  year  was  Christmas  Day.  The  Governor  and 
State  officers  had  been  elected  in  November  for  one  year  and 



the  year  had  passed.  At  the  outset,  the  Governor  sub¬ 
mitted  the  question  to  the  Legislature  as  to  the  validity  of 
all  official  acts  during  December,  but  the  Assembly  an¬ 
swered  only  by  reelecting  him  to  be  Governor. 

John  McRae  of  Fayetteville  prepared  in  1826  a  map  of 
the  State,  five  miles  to  the  inch,  being  6  feet  9  inches  by 
3  feet  6  inches.  Each  county  was  separately  executed  by 
R.  H.  B.  Brazier,  with  the  assistance  of  gentlemen  of  science 
in  the  different  parts  of  the  State  and  revised  by  the  several 
county  surveyors.  On  December  18,  1826,  McRae  announced 
in  the  North  Carolina  Telegraph,  a  religious  and  miscellane¬ 
ous  weekly,  published  at  Fayetteville  by  Robert  H.  Morrison, 
the  editor,  that  “from  the  returns  already  received  he  believed 
that  there  would  be  a  subscription  of  not  less  than  1,000 
names — the  price  to  new  subscribers  was  $10.  Morrison, 
the  publisher  of  the  Telegraph,  in  December,  1826,  an¬ 
nounced  as  just  published  at  the  Telegraph  office  “Spiritual 
Hymns  in  the  Gaelic  language  by  Patrick  Grant,  the  title 
in  Gaelic  being  Spioradail  Uuadh  Dhain  Padruing  Grand.” 
Later,  Mr.  Morrison  became  the  president  of  Davidson 

The  geological  survey 

Professor  Olmstead  at  first  made  the  geological  survey 
required  by  the  directions  of  the  Legislature,  but  on  his 
resignation  Dr.  Elisha  Mitchell  carried  on  the  work ;  parts 
I  and  II  of  the  report  being  by  the  former  and  part  III  by 
the  latter.  In  the  performance  of  this  duty  Dr.  Mitchell 
made  several  trips  throughout  the  State.  A  diary  of  his 
journey  over  the  State  in  the  winter  of  1827-28  has  been 

In  1829  Dr.  Mitchell  made  an  additional  report,  and  he 
then  published  a  textbook  “Elements  of  Geology  with  an 
outline  of  the  Geology  of  North  Carolina” ;  and  also  an  essay 
on  “the  character  and  origin  of  the  low  country  of  North 



State  map 

Hymns  in 


Mon.,  No.  6 




This  work  by  Prof.  Olmstead  and  Dr.  Mitchell  was  the 
first  comprehensive  geological  survey  made  by  any  state, 
and  while  reflecting  high  credit  on  the  eminent  men  who 
executed  the  work  attests  the  intelligent  and  progressive 
spirit  and  wisdom  of  the  public  men  of  that  period. 

The  gold  fever 

In  the  early  years  of  the  century  gold  had  been  found  in 
Cabarrus  County,  and  the  result  of  the  geological  surveys 
gave  some  impetus  to  the  search  for  the  precious  metal. 
Here  and  there  mills  for  washings  had  been  put  in  operation 
and  in  1827  Nathaniel  Bosworth,  knowing  Murphey ’s  in¬ 
terest  in  the  subject,  informed  him  that  his  plant  in  Mont¬ 
gomery  County  was  in  satisfactory  operation  and  that  he 
employed  about  80  men.  However,  Bosworth’s  efforts  do 
not  seem  to  have  resulted  favorably.  Still,  elsewhere  others 
were  mining  and  washing  for  gold.  Two  years  later  Mon¬ 
sieur  Dauverges,  a  French  chemist,  wa$  brought  from 
Philadelphia  to  examine  into  the  value  of  the  mines,  and 
Murphey  was  with  him  at  the  Gibson  mine,  in  Guilford 
County,  which  later  Murphey  and  Jonathan  Worth  worked 
for  a  year;  and  Murphey  proposed  to  wash  for  gold  on  his 
Haw  River  plantation,  where  it  was  said  there  were  three 
gold  mines.  At  that  period  the  gold  fever  was  abroad  in 
the  central  and  south  central  parts  of  the  State.  Many 
persons  flocked  to  the  supposed  gold  regions,  and  some  of 
the  planters  even  carried  their  negro  men  there  to  engage 
in  the  work.  The  excitement  continued  a  year  or  two ;  but 
the  results  were  very  disappointing.  However,  interest  in 
the  natural  resources  of  the  State  was  aroused. 

The  Carson-Vance  duel 

On  November  6,  1827,  at  Saluda,  across  the  South  Caro¬ 
lina  line,  occurred  a  fatal  duel  that  stirred  the  west  as 
much  as  the  Stanly  duel  had  stirred  the  east.  Dr.  Robert 
Brank  Vance  had  served  a  term  in  Congress  and  on  seeking 



Archibald  D.  Murphey 
Edward  B.  Dudley 


Elisha  Mitchell 
William  Gaston 


30  7 

a  reelection  was  opposed  by  a  young  man,  who,  however, 
had  served  two  sessions  in  the  Legislature,  Samuel  P. 
Carson.  Vance  was  much  the  elder,  but  the  young  man  was 
successful.  At  the  next  election,  1827,  Vance  opposed 
Carson  and  on  the  stump  mentioned  that  Carson’s  grand¬ 
father  had  been  untrue  during  the  Revolutionary  war,  in 
fact  a  Tory.  Carson  made  denial  and  challenged  Vance. 
At  the  meeting  Vance  fell.  Carson,  who  had  been  successful 
at  the  polls,  continued  in  Congress  until  1833.  The  Vance 
connection  was  very  prominent  and  the  fatal  duel  left  much 
heartburning  for  many  years. 

The  tariff 

At  first,  revenue  had  been  the  object  of  the  earlier  tariff 
laws ;  and  whatever  protection  was  afforded  to  manufac¬ 
turers  was  merely  incidental.  But  by  1824  the  demands 
of  eastern  manufacturers  for  protection  and  of  western 
communities  for  internal  improvements  led  to  the  adoption 
of  the  American  system  fathered  by  Henry  Clay,  a  western 
man ;  and  the  protective  measure  of  that  year  was  adopted 
by  a  majority  of  five  in  the  House  and  of  four  in  the 
Senate,  Daniel  Webster,  at  that  time  a  freetrader,  being 
against  it. 

The  interests  of  Massachusetts  had  been  more  with  com¬ 
merce  than  with  manufactures,  and  besides  she  had  seen 
Ohio,  Indiana  and  Illinois  attract  her  population.  During 
the  decade  ending  1830  the  population  of  those  three  states 
increased  660, 000,  while  that  of  Massachusetts  increased 
but  87,000.  Unable  to  stem  the  tide  of  emigration,  and 
her  manufactures  becoming  more  important,  she  changed 
her  economic  attitude  and  embraced  protection. 

In  July,  1827,  a  convention  was  held  in  Harrisburg, 
Pennsylvania,  which  favored  protecting  every  industry. 
Webster  and  Massachusetts  now  cooperated  with  Clay,  and 
in  May,  1828,  a  new  tariff  law  was  passed,  known  as  the 
Bill  of  Abominations  because  of  its  provisions  that  were 


The  first 
tariff  con¬ 




to  the  “New 

declared  by  its  opponents  to  be  monstrous.  It  was  that 
bill  that  aroused  the  Republicans  at  the  South  in  the  ensuing 
presidential  campaign  against  the  Adams  administration. 
In  some  of  the  agricultural  states  it  occasioned  talk  of  dis¬ 
solving  the  Union,  and  in  South  Carolina,  where  Calhoun 
was  all-powerful,  the  opposition  was  very  violent.  But 
Clay  adhered  to  his  system.  When  Jackson  was  defeated  in 
1824,  by  Clay’s  action  in  the  House,  he  had  charged  that 
Clay  had  made  a  corrupt  bargain  with  Adams ;  and  Clay 
was  now  at  points  with  General  Jackson,  and  the  adherents 
of  Adams  and  Clay,  while  still  asserting  that  they  were 
Republicans,  called  themselves  “National  Republicans.” 

At  the  election,  August,  1827,  the  feeling  in  the  State  was 
with  Jackson  and  against  Adams  and  Clay.  The  “New 
School"  with  its  adherence  to  the  high  tariff  and  internal 
improvements  was  hotly  met  at  the  meetings.  Nor  was 
there  kept  in  mind  the  distinction  between  the  State's  pro¬ 
motion  of  its  own  internal  improvements  and  such  action 
bv  the  United  States;  there  arose  objections  to  both.  Among 
the  contestants  for  Congress  was  Archibald  D.  Murphey, 
who  sought  to  succceed  Barringer.  A  supporter,  writing 
to  him  from  Wake  just  before  the  election,  remarked:  “If 
it  was  not  for  one  circumstance,  that  of  internal  improve¬ 
ments  in  the  State,  you  would  beat  him  (Barringer)  three 
to  one  in  my  neighborhood,  but  it  is  hard  to  make  a  great 
many  of  the  people  understand  the  difference  between  im¬ 
provements  by  the  State  and  that  by  the  United  States.” 
Senator  Macon  was  ever  opposed  to  any  improvements  by 
the  State. 

Such  was  the  general  tone  in  the  State  when  in  Sep¬ 
tember,  1827,  J.  F.  Caldwell,  President  of  the  University, 
began  the  publication  of  a  series  of  letters,  addressed  to  the 
people,  on  the  subject  then  entirely  new  and  novel — the  con¬ 
struction  of  a  railway  by  the  State  from  New  Bern  to  the 
mountains.  At  that  time  there  had  been  quite  a  number 
of  railways  constructed  in  England  to  haul  coal  from  the 



mines  to  some  shipping  point,  but  none  as  much  as  ten 
miles  in  length,  and  all  operated  by  horses ;  and  there  were 
a  few  on  the  continent  for  similar  purposes.  In  this  coun¬ 
try,  a  road  three  miles  long  had  been  begun  in  1827  at 
Quincy,  Massachusetts,  to  haul  granite ;  and  in  Pennsylvania 
a  road  five  miles  long  to  haul  coal  was  also  begun  in  1827. 
In  South  Carolina  there  was  a  road  from  Charleston  into 
the  interior  also  in  use ;  but  all  without  locomotives.  Other 
than  these,  there  were  no  such  aids  to  transportation  in  the 
United  States  when  Dr.  Caldwell  began  his  series  of  let¬ 
ters,  which  reached  eleven  numbers  before  the  meeting  of 
the  Assembly.  For  intelligent  apprehension  of  the  prob¬ 
lems  involved ;  for  clearness  of  views  and  a  thorough  un¬ 
derstanding  of  a  subject  at  once  novel,  difficult  and  im¬ 
portant,  these  letters  published  as  ‘‘The  Carlton  Letters’’  are 
a  marvel  of  excellence.  They  deserve  to  stand  on  as  high  a 
plane  of  literary  accomplishment  as  the  celebrated  reports 
of  Hamilton  or  Jefferson  or  any  of  the  famous  men  of  that 
generation.  Indeed,  it  is  to  be  said  that  they  constitute  a 
wonderful  achievement,  reflecting  high  credit  on  the  State, 
perhaps  unrivaled  in  any  other  American  commonwealth. 

Twelve  years  had  elapsed  since  Murphey  and  his  coad¬ 
jutors  had  started  the  scheme  of  improving  water  transporta¬ 
tion  and  constructing  highways  through  the  western  parts 
of  the  State.  The  navigation  of  the  Dan  and  Roanoke  had 
been  brought  to  a  high  state  of  usefulness  and  that  of  the 
Cape  Fear  to  most  gratifying  efficiency.  The  Catawba  and 
Yadkin  had  been  opened,  and  nearly  every  stream  in  the 
east  had  been  improved ;  while  the  Clubfoot  and  Harlowe 
Canal  connected  the  waters  of  the  great  sounds  with  the 
ocean  at  Beaufort  harbor.  Much  benefit  had  accrued,  but 
still,  save  at  Fayetteville,  no  great  market  within  the  State 
had  resulted.  The  natural  tendency  of  our  farm  products 
to  seek  markets  in  Virginia  and  in  South  Carolina  con¬ 
tinued,  and  the  profits  of  our  important  trade  went  into 
the  pockets  of  the  merchants  of  the  neighboring  states. 






The  railroad 


Journal,  140 

North  Carolina  was  not  reasonably  benefited  by  the  industry 
of  her  people.  Much  had  been  done  for  water  transporta¬ 
tion,  but  still  the  obstacles  to  industrial  prosperity  generally 
remained.  Dr.  Caldwell  conceived  the  design  or  rescuing 
the  interior  of  the  State  from  its  condition ;  of  providing 
transportation  for  the  products  of  the  west  to  some  North 
Carolina  port,  where  vessels  would  bear  them  to  the  Medi¬ 
terranean  Sea,  to  Europe,  to  the  islands  at  the  south  as 
well  as  to  the  markets  of  the  northern  states. 

While  our  people  knew  of  the  benefits  of  the  canals  in 
England,  in  New  York  and  elsewhere,  they  had  heard  but 
little  of  a  railway.  Nowhere  else  in  the  world  had  such 
a  railway  as  Caldwell  now  proposed  ever  been  designed.  It 
was  to  start  at  New  Bern,  come  to  Raleigh,  and  then  go 
westward,  about  fifty  miles  distant  from  each  of  the  north¬ 
ern  and  southern  boundaries  of  the  State.  Nearly  every 
farm  was  to  be  within  a  day’s  journey  of  the  road.  Along 
the  line  of  the  road  the  produce  would  be  laden  on  the 
railway  carriages  and  carried  to  New  Bern  where,  trans¬ 
ferred  to  barges,  it  would  be  conveyed  by  the  canal  to  Beau¬ 
fort  and  shipped  abroad.  Already  a  steam  locomotive  had 
been  devised  in  England ;  but  there  were  none  in  America. 
Horses  were  to  draw  the  carriages.  Dr.  Caldwell  figured 
that  it  would  cost  thirty-seven  cents  to  the  poll  for  seven 
years  and  the  work  would  be  completed.  Every  detail  he 
considered  fully  in  his  remarkable  series  of  letters.  He 
hoped  that  the  Legislature  would  authorize  a  beginning, 
but  when  the  Legislature  met  Charles  Fisher,  while  agreeing 
to  the  general  argument  of  Dr.  Caldwell,  made  a  different 
proposition.  The  Yadkin  was  open  to  the  Narrows.  For 
a  hundred  miles  the  produce  of  the  Yadkin  Valley  was  for 
easy  transport  on  the  bosom  of  that  placid  stream ;  and 
the  project  of  Murphey  for  a  canal  having  fallen  through, 
Fisher  proposed  a  railway  from  the  Narrows  to  Fayette* 



ville.  Then  Nathan  G.  Smith  of  Chatham,  following  the 
suggestion  of  Dr.  Caldwell,  proposed  a  road  from  Beaufort 
to  Salisbury.  Both  propositions  were  referred  to  a  com¬ 
mittee,  and  nothing  followed. 

Quite  a  number  of  persons  in  this  State  having  associated  Ibid  154 
themselves  together  for  the  instruction  of  the  deaf  and  dumb 
and  to  establish  an  asylum  for  the  reception  and  instruction 
of  these  unfortunate  persons,  they  were  incorporated  under 


the  name  of  the  North  Carolina  Institution  for  the  Instruc-  measures 
tion  of  the  Deaf  and  Dumb. 

The  former  Legislature  having  directed  a  commission  to 
reports  plans  for  a  penitentiary  and  for  an  asylum  for  idiots  1827 
and  lunatics,  the  Governor  now  communicated  such  plans, 
but  the  time  was  not  yet  ripe  for  action,  and  the  plans  were 
ordered  to  be  deposited  in  the  library  for  future  use. 

There  were  transportation  companies  chartered  for  Hay¬ 
wood  County,  another  to  run  from  Buncombe  to  Burke,  and 
another  known  by  the  name  of  the  Smoky  Mountain  Trans¬ 
portation  Company,  the  State  being  a  stockholder. 

In  Elizabeth  City  there  was  enough  business  for  the  for¬ 
mation  of  a  marine  insurance  company.  In  several  coun¬ 
ties  there  were  library  companies  authorized,  and  the  State 
Library  was  directed  to  let  Hardy  B.  Croom  have  the  use 
of  Lawson’s  History  for  twelve  months  to  republish  the 
same  with  notes. 

The  Assembly,  desirous  of  promoting  laudable  objects 
without  taxing  the  people,  resorted  to  lotteries  that  were 
then  much  utilized,  even  for  religious  purposes  as  well  as 
for  other  objects. 

Judge  Murphey  had  been  engaged  in  preparing  a  history 
of  the  State  and  it  was  commonly  understood  that  the  pub¬ 
lication  of  a  history  was  casting  bread  on  the  waters  with  no 
hope  of  any  return.  To  be  helpful  to  this  distinguished 
public  man  in  his  great  endeavor,  the  Assembly  passed  an 




Vol.  IX 




act  authorizing  the  Treasurer  to  have  a  lottery  to  raise 
$50,000,  one-half  of  the  proceeds  to  be  for  the  Literary 
Fund,  and  the  other  half  for  the  use  of  Murphey  in  pub¬ 
lishing  his  history.  The  lottery  was  to  be  sold  to  brokers 
or  others  who  might  purchase  the  right  to  hold  it.  For 
some  reason  there  were  no  purchasers,  so  the  scheme  fell 

There  was  also  an  act  giving  authority  to  the  Board  of 
Internal  Improvements  to  have  a  lottery  to  raise  $50,000  to 
survey  and  drain  swamps  and  to  improve  the  health  of 
certain  counties  in  the  eastern  part  of  the  State ;  and  Sena¬ 
tor  Flenry  Seawell  from  Wake,  offered  a  resolution  instruct¬ 
ing  the  Committee  on  Education  to  inquire  into  the  expe¬ 
diency  of  raising  $630,000  by  lottery,  ten  thousand  dollars 
to  be  given  to  each  county  for  establishing  public  schools. 
Lotteries,  argued  Jefferson,  when  applying  to  the  Virginia 
Legislature  for  one  to  be  authorized  for  the  aid  of  his  pro¬ 
posed  university,  are  not  more  subject  to  chance  than  the 
pursuit  of  agriculture.  The  propriety  of  their  use  was  a 
common  sentiment. 

This  being  Burton's  last  year,  James  Iredell  was  elected 

It  was  at  this  time  that  Murphey  engaged  the  services  of 
a  man  who  had  taught  school  in  the  western  counties,  known 
as  P.  S.  Ney,  and  who  proved  efficient  and  helpful  to 

Murphey’s  health  now  became  bad.  Some  of  his  specu¬ 
lations  in  land  turned  out  disastrously.  At  the  August 
election,  1827,  he  offered  for  Congress  against  Barringer, 
both  being  supporters  of  General  Jackson,  but  he  was  de¬ 
feated.  His  proposed  history  was  never  completed. 

*The  real  name  of  this  man  Ney  waa  Neyman.  He  was  a  Scotchman. 



The  Masons  had  for  years  been  active  in  North  Carolina, The  Masons 
and  among  them  were  many  of  the  most  honored  patriots 
of  the  State.  Sam  Johnston,  Richard  Caswell,  Davie,  Col. 

William  Polk,  Chief  Justice  Taylor,  Judge  Hall,  Governor 
Benjamin  Smith  and  Robert  Williams  were  the  Grand  Mas¬ 
ters  up  to  1813,  and  equally  distinguished  were  their  suc¬ 
cessors  ;  while  the  roll  of  members  contained  the  names  of 
the  most  choice  spirits  of  the  commonwealth.  Therefore 
when  an  anti-Mason  party  arose  at  the  North  it  made  no 
impression  in  North  Carolina. 


An  Era  of  Progress 

The  presidential  election. — Jackson  successful. — His  citizen¬ 
ship  and  manners. — Character. — His  inauguration. — Iredell’s 
message. — New  conditions. — Cotton  and  woolen  factories;  other 
enterprises. — Iredell  and  Branch  Senators. — Owen,  Governor. — 
Congress  agrees  to  improve  the  Cape  Pear. — Fauntleroy  Taylor 
dies. — Death  of  Chief  Justice  Taylor. — The  banks  in  trouble. — 
Branch  Bank  of  United  iSitates. — Robert  Potter. — Gaston. — Pot¬ 
ter’s  popularity. — His  crime  and  death. — Fisher’s  diatribe. — 
Ruffin  restores  confidence. — Macon. — His  influence. — Death  of 
Yancey. — Federal  patronage.— GDeath  of  Murphey. — Governor 
Owen’s  progressive  message. — The  Internal  Improvement  Con¬ 
vention. — The  Assembly  responds. — Sheriffs  and  clerks  to  be 
elected  by  the  people. — Bedford  Brown  Senator. — Henderson 
Chief  Justice. — Macon  County. — Ruffin  on  Supreme.  Court. — The 
Donaldson  industrial  school. — The  tariff. — The  State’s  non-action. 


of  Gales 

The  presidential  election 

When  the  presidential  election  of  1828  was  approaching 
the  friends  of  Adams  and  of  Clay,  the  adherents  of  the 
American  system,  those  who  supported  the  high  tariff 
measures  and  the  internal  improvements  policy  of  the  ad¬ 
ministration,  stood  for  the  reelection  of  Adams.  But  Jack- 
son,  declaring  that  the  popular  will  had  been  defeated  by  a 
corrupt  bargain  between  Clay  and  Adams  in  1824,  was  very 
active  in  rallying  the  opposition.  Great  popular  interest 
was  aroused  throughout  all  the  states.  In  North  Carolina 
nearly  all  the  public  men  were  for  “Old  Hickory,”  and 
against  the  “New  School’’  as  those  were  called  who  ad¬ 
vocated  a  latitudinous  construction  of  the  Constitution. 
Colonel  Polk,  Badger,  Mangum  and  nearly  all  the  old  Re¬ 
publicans  were  for  Jackson,  but  Gales,  so  long  the  leading 
Republican  editor,  was  not.  In  1820  when  the  Legislature 
had  pronounced  against  the  tariff,  Gales  had  registered  a 
strong  dissent.  And  his  action  was  in  conformity  with  his 
principles.  He  had  stood  for  home  manufactures,  ’and  in 
1808  he  had  established  a  paper  mill  on  the  Neuse:  and  had 



ever  urged  domestic  manufactures.  At  the  previous  elec¬ 
tion  he  supported  Crawford,  the  caucus  nominee,  who,  in¬ 
deed,  had  a  large  following  in  the  State ;  but  he  was  no 
longer  in  line  with  the  Jefferson  Democracy. 

By  November  all  doubts  of  the  result  of  the  election  were 
allayed.  Jackson  was  successful  by  more  than  two  to  one  in 
the  electoral  college.  While  New  England  gave  all  her 
votes  but  one  to  Adams,  the  West  offset  that;  and  the  South 
voted  solidly  for  Jackson,  as  did  Pennsylvania;  only  New 
York  and  Maryland  divided.  It  was  the  death  knell  of  the 
political  supremacy  of  Massachusetts.  Virginia  and  the 
South  and  West  wielded  the  power  of  the  Union. 

Some  question  has  arisen  as  to  Jackson’s  nativity.  It  is 
not  important  whether  his  mother  happened  to  be  on  the 
north  or  south  side  of  the  line  dividing  the  Carolinas  when 
he  was  born.  The  Waxhaw  settlement  embraced  the  neigh¬ 
borhood  and  extended  into  both  states.  His  parents  came 
from  Ireland  in  1765  and  settled  in  Waxhaw.  Two  years 
later  he  was  born  in  North  Carolina.  All  through  youth 
he  was  in  North  Carolina,  a  North  Carolina  boy.  It  is  said 
he  taught  school,  and  studied  law  in  North  Carolina,  was 
a  resident  and  voter  of  the  State,  admitted  to  the  bar  by 
Judge  Ashe,  as  a  citizen;  held  office  as  a  citizen;  never 
breathing  any  other  atmosphere,  until  Tennessee,  North 
Carolina’s  daughter,  became  a  state. 

After  he  became  President,  his  political  opponents  as¬ 
sumed  towards  him  an  air  of  superiority.  He  had  not  had 
their  training.  He  was  a  resolute,  determined  man :  but  in 
manner,  in  personal  bearing,  he  was  so  deferential,  so  gentle, 
so  courteous,  that  Mrs.  Seaton  wrote:  ‘‘General  Jackson  ap¬ 
pears  to  possess  quite  as  much  suaviter  in  modo  as  fortiter 
in  re.  He  is  indeed  a  polished  perfect  courtier  in  female 
society,  and  polite  to  all.”  And  Senator  Iredell  wrote  to 
Ruffin  :  “I  have  seen  General  Jackson  and  am  much  pleased 
with  his  manner  and  address.  They  are  decidedly  those  of 
a  well-bred  gentleman,  and  I  do  not  know  that  I  could  give 
him  a  higher  character.”  While  a  man  of  decision,  he  held 
lofty  views  and  had  correct  principles ;  and  he  was  free 
from  insincerity  and  duplicity :  nor  was  he  lacking  in  edu- 



Seaton,  161 

Letters,  I, 






cation.  He  had  been  educated  in  youth,  a  judge  of  the 
Supreme  Court  of  Tennessee,  had  served  in  the  Senate, 
and  had  been  Governor  of  the  Territory  of  Florida. 

The  campaign  had  been  waged  on  such  issues  that  Jackson 
was  stigmatized  as  an  enemy  to  society.  And  indeed  at 
his  inauguration  all  social  traditions  were  trampled  under 
foot.  “It  was  the  people’s  day,  the  people’s  President,  and 
the  people  would  rule.  .  .  .  When  the  President’s  ad¬ 

dress  was  concluded,  the  barricades  gave  way  before  the 
multitude,  who  forced  a  passage  to  shake  hands  with  the 
choice  of  the  people.  General  Jackson  mounted  his  horse, 
having  walked  to  the  Capitol,  and  then  such  a  cortege  fol¬ 
lowed  :  countrymen,  laborers,  white  and  black,  carriages, 
wagons,  and  carts  all  pursuing  him  to  the  President’s  house. 

.  The  closing  scene  (within  the  White  House)  was 
195  in  disgusting  contrast  with  the  simplicity  of  the  impressive 
drama  of  the  inaugural  oath.”  And  so  it  came  about  that 
“party  spirit  is  now  fiery  hot  and  will  increase  every  day.” 
Of  Jackson's  particular  admirers  it  was  said:  “In  our 
opinion  General  Jackson  is  infinitely  superior  in  magnanimity 
and  other  good  qualities  to  his  friends.  They  are  outrageous 
and  would  willingly  trample  under  foot  and  massacre  all 
who  do  not  bow  the  knee  to  Baal.”  Such  was  the  begin¬ 
ning  of  a  new  era  in  political  affairs  at  Washington. 

In  the  State 

In  his  message  to  the  Assembly  Governor  Iredell  men¬ 
tioned  the  exuberant  harvest,  the  great  improvement  in  con¬ 
ditions,  and  “but  few  offenders  of  an  atrocious  nature.” 
He  dwelt  on  the  tariff  act  recently  passed,  and  urged  the 
Legislature  to  protest  against  it,  and  against  “the  American 

He  urged  as  all  his  predecessors  had  done  both  education 
and  internal  improvements;  and  “on  the  subject  of  railroads, 
which  have  excited  much  interest  in  this  State,”  he  said 
that  an  experiment  had  lately  been  commenced  to  connect 
the  waters  of  the  Ohio  with  the  city  of  Baltimore,  and  he 
suggested  the  construction  of  a  railway  from  Campbellton  to 
Fayetteville,  as  a  trial  and  test. 


The  conditions  in  the  State  were  now  better  than  the 
year  before.  A  greater  spirit  of  enterprise  prevailed. 
There  were  applications  for  business  incorporations  that  be¬ 
spoke  an  inclination  to  associate  capital  and  enter  on 

The  Leakes  and  Crawfords  of  Richmond  were  granted 
a  charter  under  the  name  of  Richmond  Rockingham  Man¬ 
ufacturing  Company,  with  a  capital  of  $30,000,  to  manu¬ 
facture  cotton  and  woolen  goods. 

Hugh  McCain,  Jesse  Walker,  Benjamin  Eliot  and  Jona¬ 
than  Worth  formed  the  Randolph  Manufacturing  Com¬ 
pany  for  cotton  and  woolen  goods,  with  a  capital  of  $50,000. 

William  A.  Blount,  John  Myers,  William  Ellison,  with 
$20,000,  formed  the  Belfort  Cotton  Manufacturing  Com¬ 
pany  to  operate  on  Tranter’s  Creek. 

Joel  Battle,  Edmond  McNair,  David  Clark,  David  Barnes, 
B.  M.  Jackson,  Theophilus  Parker,  Peter  Evans,  William 
Plummer  were  incorporated  as  the  Edgecombe  Manufac¬ 
turing  Company  with  a  capital  of  $200,000  to  manufacture 
cotton,  flax  and  hemp ;  and  Henry  A.  Donaldson,  Louis 
D.  Henry,  John  Riley,  Hugh  McLaughlin,  John  M.  Dobbin, 
formed  the  Fayetteville  Manufacturing  Company,  $50,000 
capital,  to  manufacture  cotton,  hemp,  wool  and  flax.  Peter 
P.  Smith,  Anderson  K.  Ramsey  of  Chatham,  Alexander 
Gray  and  Hugh  Moffat  of  Randolph,  Daniel  McNeil, 
Guidon  Seawell  of  Moore,  James  Mebane,  John  Stockard 
of  Orange,  put  in  $15,000  to  form  the  Iron  and  Casting- 
Manufacturing  Company  in  Chatham  County.  And  gold 
mining  was  attractive.  The  North  Carolina  Gold  Mining 
Company  was  organized  “to  work  gold  mines  more  exten¬ 
sively  than  heretofore  and  with  better  machinery/’  Both 
the  Cotton  Plant  Steamboat  Company  and  the  Henrietta 
Steamboat  Company  were  organized  at  Fayetteville ;  each 
with  the  authority  to  build  additional  boats,  and  a  com¬ 
pany  was  formed  with  $100,000  capital  to  clear  the  channel 
of  Ocracoke  Inlet,  and  improve  the  navigation  of  Pamlico 

Macon  having  resigned,  two  senators  were  now  to  be 
chosen.  Governor  Iredell  and  Governor  Branch  were 



Cotton  mills 


Iredell  and 






Death  of  the 



elected.  John  Owen  now  became  Governor.  Not  so  learned 
a  man  as  Iredell,  Owen  was  of  fine  qualities  and  worthy  of 
this  post  of  honor. 

The  Legislature  had  called  on  Congress  to  remove  the 
obstructions  in  the  Cape  Fear,  the  result  of  sinking  vessels 
there  during  the  Revolution  to  keep  out  British  vessels,  and 
Congress  proposing  to  do  that,  the  State  Civil  Engineer  was 
now  dispensed  with ;  but  the  work  was  kept  up  by  Hinton 
James  as  superintendent.  William  Robards,  the  State  Treas¬ 
urer,  who  succeeded  the  venerable  John  Haywood  on  his 
death,  reported  that  the  State  assets  were  $1,047,485,  and 
liabilities  $325,326.  The  Legislature  directed  that  $5,000 
be  advanced  to  McRae  for  the  publication  of  his  map. 

The  Attorney-General,  James  Fauntleroy  Taylor  died  in 
June,  1828,  the  Legislature  electing  Romulus  M.  Saunders 
to  the  vacancy;  and  on  January  29,  1829,  Chief  Justice  Tay¬ 
lor  died.  For  thirty  years  he  had  been  on  the  bench  and 
ranked  first  among  his  associates.  On  his  death  the  court 
made  a  memoranda  from  which  the  following  are  extracts. 
“In  the  character  of  this  distinguished  man  there  was  such 
a  rare  union  of  qualities  as  renders  the  task  of  portraying 
it  one  of  peculiar  difficulty.  The  lineaments  of  his  mind 
were  delicate  and  so  harmoniously  blended  as  to  present  to 
the  intellectual  eye  an  object  on  which  it  dwelt  with  serene 
and  affectionate  pleasure,  conscious  of  excellence,  yet  scarcely 
sensible  in  what  it  consists.  .  .  .  His  gentle,  unob¬ 

trusive  manners,  a  singular  felicity  of  expression,  which  al¬ 
ways  seized  and  apparently  without  effort  the  most  appro¬ 
priate  word  for  the  communication  of  a  thought,  a  playful 
but  ever  benevolent  wit,  united  with  quick  perception,  great 
ingenuity  in  argument  and  a  most  retentive  recollection  of 
whatever  he  had  read,  opened  for  him  a  career  of  eminence. 
His  patience  was  exemplary,  and  his  courtesy  universal. 
LTniting  in  an  extraordinary  degree  suavity  of  manner  with 
firmness  of  purpose,  a  heart  tremblingly  alive  to  every  im¬ 
pulse  of  humanity,  with  a  deep-seated  and  reverential  love 
of  justice,  the  best  feelings  with  an  enlightened  judgment, 



Of  his  decisions  they  said:  “Very  many,  which  may  be 
regarded  as  models  of  legal  investigation  and  judicial  elo¬ 
quence,  etc.  .  .  .  There  is  indeed  a  charm  in  all  his 

compositions  seldom  to  be  found  elsewhere,  which  has  in¬ 
duced  not  a  few  to  regret  that  the  Chief  Justice  had  not 
devoted  himself  entirely  to  a  literary  life.  .  .  .  If  there 

was  ever  a  kinder  heart  in  human  bosom,  it  has  not  fallen 
to  our  lot  to  meet  with  it.  If  ever  man  was  more  faithful 
to  friendship,  more  affectionate  in  his  domestic  relations, 
more  free  from  guile,  more  disinterested,  humane  and  chari¬ 
table,  we  have  not  been  so  fortunate  as  to  know  him.” 

The  banks  in  trouble 

The  conservative  and  splendid  management  of  the  banks 
in  their  early  years  had  borne  its  natural  fruit.  Their 
value  to  the  State  was  appreciated.  Then  in  the  time  of 
depression  that  set  in,  they  became  the  fortunate  instrument 
to  alleviate  the  situation.  Everybody  became  borrowers ; 
money  was  so  easy  to  get  on  promises  to  repay.  The  char¬ 
ters  of  the  banks  were  extended  to  1835,  and  their  capital 
was  greatly  increased,  and  as  they  could  issue  three  dollars  in 
currency  for  every  dollar  of  capital,  currency  became  super¬ 
abundant.  Specie  becoming  scarce,  the  Legislature  came  to 
the  aid  of  the  situation  by  issuing  State  notes,  receivable  as 
specie.  While  this  expedient  was  a  temporary  relief,- in  the 
end  it  augmented  the  evil.  Unfortunately,  similar  condi¬ 
tions  existed  elsewhere  at  the  South  and  West,  and  there  be¬ 
ing  great  demand  for  specie,  brokers  plied  their  trade  re¬ 
lentlessly,  purchasing  the  notes  of  the  banks  at  a  discount 
and  presenting  them  for  payment  in  specie.  There  was  but 
one  road  that  led  to  safety,  to  call  in  loans ;  and  that  would 
occasion  widespread  distress.  The  banks  hesitated  to  resort 
to  that  measure  and  suspended  specie  payment.  The  brokers 
being  denied  their  specie  brought  suit,  and  to  meet  this 
threatened  embarrassment,  the  banks  required  customers  to 
agree  to  pay  their  indebtedness  in  specie ;  although  the 
bank  notes  were  below  par.  Unusual  efforts  were  now 
made  by  the  Legislature  to  give  relief  to  the  banks,  but  the 
Branch  Bank  of  the  United  States  having  received  a  large 

3  20 







Letters,  I, 


amount  of  bank  notes  demanded  specie  in  payment,  and 
the  banks  were  in  a  condition  that  required  the  most  dras¬ 
tic  action.  At  that  time  there  entered  on  the  stage  of  public 
life  a  man  of  unusual  abilities  and  qualities,  Robert  Potter 
of  Granville  County.  “With  an  address  which  would  have 
graced  the  most  polished  court  in  Europe,  with  powers  of 
eloquence  that  could  command  the  listening  auditors  and 
sway  them  to  his  will,  and  an  energy  that  shrank  from  no 
obstacle  or  opposition,  he  sought  popularity  by  magnifying 
the  evils  of  the  day  and  appealing  to  the  people  for  reform.” 
He  had  been  a  midshipman,  but  after  six  years  service  had 
resigned  and  studied  law,  and  in  1828,  was  elected  a  Repre¬ 
sentative  from  Granville  County.  On  the  meeting  of  the 
Assembly  he  proposed  to  reduce  severely  the  pay  of  the 
judges.  “Potter  seems  to  have  gone  completely  beside  him¬ 
self  upon  that  and  the  other  great  subjects  which  have  been 
agitating  the  people  of  the  State  for  the  last  summer ;  I 
mean  the  all-absorbing  subjects  of  the  depreciation  of  the 
currency  of  North  Carolina,  and  the  bad  not  to  say  mis¬ 
management  of  the  directors  of  our  banks.”  Potter  had 
introduced  a  resolution,  which  was  adopted,  to  raise  a  joint 
committee  to  examine  into  the  affairs  of  the  banks.  The 
majority  of  this  committee  made  a  report  different  from 
Potter’s  views.  And  he  submitted  a  minority  report  ac¬ 
companied  by  a  bill  requiring  the  Attorney-General  to  in¬ 
stitute  proceedings  against  the  banks,  declaring  a  forfeiture 
of  their  charters.  These  reports  led  to  high  debate.  Gas¬ 
ton  was  at  that  time  in  the  plenitude  of  his  powers. 
Badger,  writing  to  Ruffin,  said :  “I  have  been  employed 
for  some  days  past  in  the  Circuit  Court  of  the  GTnited  States 
where  Brother  Gaston  is  all  in  all,  and  although  I  have 
heard  much  and  seen  a  little  of  leaning,  yet  never  saw  I, 
or  heard  I,  of  such  complete  supporting  upon  a  lawyer  as 
of  the  Chief  Justice  (Marshall)  upon  Gaston.  The  Chief 
Justice  seems  to  be  but  his  echo,  though  he  is  not  aware  of 
it,  for  his  integrity  is  certainly  pure.”  Gaston  opposed 
Potter.  “With  Gaston  were  George  E.  Spruill  of  Halifax, 
David  L.  Swain,  George  C.  Mendenhall  of  Guilford,  and 
James  Graham  of  Rutherford.  .  .  .  The  House  was  a 



tie  and  the  proposition  of  Potter  was  defeated  only  by  the 
casting  vote  of  the  Speaker,  Thomas  Settle/’ 

Potter  by  his  attack  on  the  banks  gained  such  popular  ap¬ 
plause  that  he  was  at  the  next  election  chosen  as  a  Jackson 
Democrat  to  Congress  from  the  Granville  district.  His 
course  in  Congress  was  brilliant  and  imposing.  He  was  re¬ 
elected  without  opposition.  On  Sunday,  August  28,  1831, 
he  committed  a  brutal  maim  on  two  of  his  wife’s  relations, 
one  of  them  a  preacher.  He  was  fined  $1,000  and  im¬ 
prisoned  six  months.  The  next  General  Assembly  passed 
an  act  making  his  crime  a  capital  offense.  Two  years  later, 
however,  he  was  again  elected  to  the  House  of  Commons; 
but  realizing  that  his  career  had  closed  he  went  to  Texas  in 
1835.  There  he  was  a  member  of  the  convention  that  de¬ 
clared  the  independence  of  Texas,  March,  1836,  and  mem¬ 
ber  of  the  Texas  Senate.  Having  some  trouble  with  some 
men  who  on  April  2,  1842,  drove  him  from  his  house  near 
Caddo,  he  took  refuge  in  a  stream,  from  the  banks  of  which 
they  fired  on  him,  he  diving  as  they  shot;  but  eventually 
they,  killed  him. 

While  Potter’s  attack  on  the  banks  failed,  it  had  many  and 
strong  supporters.  Such  was  the  feeling  that  Charles  Fisher, 
a  Senator,  had  published  in  the  Yadkin  and  Catawba 
Journal,  February,  10,  1829:  “By  acts  the  most  designing, 
the  Legislature  and  the  people  of  the  State  for  the  past  ten 
years  have  been  held  under  the  spellbound  influence  of  the 
banks,  and  particularly  that  bank  misnamed  the  Bank  of  the 
State.  So  great  has  been  this  influence  that  when,  a  few 
years  since,  the  Governor  of  the  State  had  the  firmness  to 
call  their  conduct  in  question,  the  directors  at  Raleigh  boldly 
stepped  out  and  hurled  the  gauntlet  of  defiance  at  the  Gov¬ 
ernor  and  the  Legislature ;  and  all  the  newspapers  in  the 
State  sung  out — ‘Long  Live  the  King.’  ”  He  declared  that 
one-third  of  the  stockholders,  150  men,  owning  more  than 
$1,000,000  of  stock  managed  the  institution.  “These  com¬ 
pose  the  real  aristocracy  of  the  land,  and  of  all  aristocra¬ 
cies  the  most  dangerous  is  a  moneyed  aristocracy.  .  .  . 

Mammon  is  their  God — self-interest  their  polar  star.  These 
are  the  men  who  are  now  at  work  to  ruin  the  State,  and 



the  money 



Ruffin  averts 

Papers,  I, 

the  contest  is  with  them.  .  .  .  Times  have  changed  and  they 
can  no  longer  divide  eight  per  cent  with  occasional  bonus  of 
ten  to  thirty-five  per  cent ;  and  they  have  come  to  the  conclu¬ 
sion  to  call  in  their  debts  without  any  regard  to  the  condi¬ 
tion  of  the  community,  but  only  looking  to  their  own  sordid 
interests.  ‘Let  us  wind  up  at  once,’  they  say ;  ‘let  us  call  in 
our  debts  and  get  the  money  into  our  own  hands ;  we  can 
make  more  than  five  per  cent  of  it  by  shaving  notes  and 
by  buying  up  property  at  sheriff  sales.’  But,”  says  a  whis¬ 
pering  spirit :  “The  people,  you  will  ruin  the  people.’ 
Mammon  answers:  ‘What  are  the  people  to  us?  We  must 
look  to  our  own  interest.’  It  is  better  that  the  people  should 
suffer,  it  is  better  that  the  poor  man,  with  his  wife  and  help¬ 
less  children  should  be  turned  out  of  doors ;  it  is  better  that 
we  should  swell  the  tide  of  emigration  to  the  west,  than  that 
we  should  get  only  five  per  cent  for  our  money.”  On  that  line 
the  thoughts  of  those  who  were  agitating  against  the  banks 
found  food  to  grow. 

At  that  period  Judge  Thomas  Ruffin  was  the  most  highly 
esteemed  citizen  and  the  most  popular  man  in  the  State ; 
every  one  had  confidence  in  his  high  integrity  as  in  his 
superior  ability.  The  condition  of  the  State  Bank  was  so 
critical  that  in  November,  1828,  some  of  the  leading  men 
urged  him  to  become  president  of  that  institution.  On 
December  1,  he  accepted;  and  his  acceptance  raised  a  storm 
of  fury  against  him  by  those  who  were  so  bitter  against 
the  bank.  He  moved  to  Raleigh  and  set  himself  at  once 
to  work  to  restore  confidence  in  the  State  Bank,  and,  with¬ 
out  favor,  forced  the  borrowers  to  settle.  He  accomplished 
his  purpose  and  saved  the  State  from  what  might  have  been 
a  financial  disaster.  When  two  months  later  the  Chief  Jus¬ 
tice  died,  thoughts  of  Ruffin’s  friends  turned  to  him  to  fill 
the  vacancy. 

Andrew  Joyner  of  Halifax,  one  of  the  first  men  in  the 
State,  wrote  in  April,  1829,  to  Ruffin  that  the  gentlemen  of 
the  bar  in  that  region  preferred  Ruffin:  “If  Mr.  Gaston 
were  a  candidate,  I  find  there  would  be  considerable  differ¬ 
ence  of  opinion  among  them  as  to  which  of  you  should  be 
selected  to  fill  the  appointment,  but  it  is  now  generally  un- 



derstood  that  he  positively  declines/’  This  is  of  particular 
interest  as  Gaston  was  a  Roman  Catholic,  and  it  was  gen¬ 
erally  considered  that  Catholics  were  barred  by  the  Con¬ 
stitution  from  holding  civil  offices  while  that  provision  did 
not  extend  to  members  of  the  Assembly. 

On  November  14,  1828,  Senator  Macon,  having  reached 
the  age  when  he  thought  his  mental  powers  were  on  the 
decline,  resigned  and  retired  from  public  life,  being  suc¬ 
ceeded  by  Iredell.  He,  however,  preserved  his  activity  and 
continued  to  be  a  great  hunter  of  deer  and  foxes.  He 
had  served  in  Congress  from  1791,  was  the  honored 
Speaker  of  the  House,  and  after  1815,  was  esteemed  as  one 
of  the  wisest  Senators,  and  presided  over  the  Senate  as 
President  pro  tempore  for  several  years  until  he  retired. 
Like  Jefferson,  he  thought  the  best  interests  of  the  people 
of  the  states  lay  in  a  strict  construction  of  the  Constitution, 
limiting  the  powers  of  Congress  to  the  specific  grants  in  that 
instrument.  Particularly  was  he  fearful  that  Congress 
would  attempt  to  abolish  slavery  in  the  states.  So  it  came 
about  that  he  was  opposed  to  many  of  the  measures  that 
now  engaged  the  attention  of  the  younger  public  men.  To 
preserve  his  right  of  action,  he  never  would  enter  into 
cooperation ;  and  so  during  the  period  when  presidential 
nominations  were  made  by  the  Congressional  caucus  he  ab¬ 
stained  from  attending  such  a  caucus,  even  when  in  sympa¬ 
thy  with  a  majority  of  the  members.  For  many  years  he  ex¬ 
erted  the  first  influence  in  the  State.  Here  he  was  the 
apostle  of  individualism.  His  basic  principle  was  that  the 
function  of  government  should  generally  be  limited  to  the 
preservation  of  order  and  protecting  and  maintaining  the 
rights  of  the  citizens ;  that  other  matters  should  be  left  to 
the  care  and  enterprise  of  the  people  themselves.  Thus  he 
was  not  an  advocate  of  public  schools  or  of  the  State’s 
using  taxes  to  promote  enterprises  that  offered  advantages 
to  some  particular  section.  These  matters  he  thought  should 
be  left  to  those  concerned. 

It  was  under  the  influence  of  these  teachings  that  opposi¬ 
tion  arose  to  such  efforts  as  were  made  to  provide  public 
schools  and  promote  internal  improvements. 








Now  that  a  new  era  was  approaching-,  when  railroads  were 
to  engage  attention,  the  indisposition  to  lay  taxes  for  pur¬ 
poses  that  were  more  strictly  objects  of  individual  concern 
stayed  the  hand  of  the  General  Assembly,  and  while  charter 
after  charter  was  granted  the  State  gave  its  permission  and 
good  wishes,  but  no  aid.  One  of  the  first  propositions  was 
to  construct  a  road  from  Campbellton,  where  the  steamboats 
discharged  their  freight,  about  a  mile,  to  Fayetteville  where 
the  stores  were  located.  The  proposition  had  been  pre¬ 
viously  considered,  and  a  bill  introduced  and  passed,  but  the 
work  was  not  undertaken.  Other  charters  had  been  granted 
to  carry  into  effect  the  suggestion  of  Dr.  Caldwell  to  have 
a  railway  from  the  coast  through  the  central  counties  of 
the  State;  and  a  still  more  favorite  project  was  to  connect 
Fayetteville  by  rail  with  the  Yadkin  River  at  the  Narrows 
so  that  the  products  of  the  Yadkin  Valley,  up  to  the  moun¬ 
tains,  could  reach  markets  from  Wilmington.  But  as  ses¬ 
sion  after  session  passed  the  Legislature  deemed  it  inex¬ 
pedient  for  the  State  to  give  aid.  And  so  it  was  in  regard 
to  establishing  public  schools.  Year  by  year  propositions 
were  made  to  that  end,  but  despite  the  advocacy  of  many 
progressive  spirits,  especially  in  the  Senate,  they  were  with¬ 
out  avail. 

Next  to  Macon,  perhaps  the  most  influential  person  in  the 
State  had  been  Bartlett  Yancey  in  whom  was  united  every 
element  of  fine  manhood;  and  now,  too,  he  was  missed  from 
public  life.  For  ten  years  he  had  been  Speaker  of  the  Sen¬ 
ate  and  exercised  a  controlling  influence  in  that  bodv  and 
many  of  the  most  important  measures  adopted  were  at  his 
instance ;  particularly  he  drew  the  bill  to  establish  the 
literary  fund  for  schools.  But  he  was  conservative  in  ap¬ 
plying  the  resources  of  the  State  to  promote  conditions. 
FTe  died  suddenly  and  entirely  lamented,  after  his  reelection 
to  the  Senate  in  1828. 

Political  rewards  in  the  State  were  few  and  not  remuner¬ 
ative.  The  salaries  of  the  Governor  and  of  the  judges  were 
inadequate  and,  indeed,  so  was  the  compensation  of  the  Rep¬ 
resentatives  and  Senators  in  Congress.  Thus  it  came  about 
that  the  Federal  patronage  was  unduly  considered  in  con- 



nection  with  political  alignment,  and  the  expectation  or  hope 
of  some  Federal  office  was  often  uppermost  in  the  mind  of 
some  of  the  public  men. 

The  post  of  Minister  to  Peru  had  been  tendered  to  Yan¬ 
cey  but  he  declined  it.  He  preferred  his  proud  position 
of  director  of  legislation  to  any  other,  while  his  practice 
brought  him  in  a  considerable  income. 

Indeed  Murphey  was  among  those  who  hoped  for  an  ap¬ 
pointment  abroad ;  but  his  hopes  were  not  realized. 

While  serving  the  University  in  Tennessee,  he  contracted 
a  malady  that  impaired  his  health  and  usefulness.  Turning 
from  active  leadership  he  proposed  to  write  a  history  of  the 
State,  but  here  again  he  was  doomed  to  disappointment, 
and  the  most  progressive  citizen  of  that  era  passed  away 
February  1,  1832,  without  realizing  his  ardent  hopes. 

When  the  Assembly  met,  W.  J.  Alexander  was  chosen 
Speaker  of  the  House  and  Bedford  Brown  of  the  Senate ; 
then  later,  D.  F.  Caldwell  of  Rowan. 

Governor  Owen’s  message 

The  Governor  strongly  urged  better  transportation  fa¬ 
cilities  and  particularly  the  opening  of  a  communication  be¬ 
tween  Albemarle  Sound  and  the  ocean  which,  indeed,  the 
U.  S.  Engineers  had  themselves  recommended ;  and  he  was 
happy  to  report  that  the  representations  of  the  Assembly  to 
Congress  about  the  obstructions  in  the  Cape  Fear  River  had 
led  to  an  appropriation  of  $20,000  to  remove  them,  and  that 
Congress  had  likewise  appropriated  $41,000  for  the  improve¬ 
ment  of  Ocracoke  Inlet.  The  proposed  Fayetteville  and 
Yadkin  Railroad  seemed  so  important  that  he  suggested 
a  commission  to  ascertain  the  cost  and  the  practicability  of 
its  construction,  and  he  repeated  his  recommendation  for  the 
construction  of  the  road  from  Campbellton  to  Fayetteville. 

While  the  messages  of  all  of  the  Governors  were  generally 
explicit  in  their  recommendations  for  the  establishment  of 
primary  schools,  none  of  them  excelled  in  point  and  scope 
the  first  message  of  Governor  Owen.  He  laid  before  the 
Assembly  what  was  being  done  in  New  York,  New  Jersey 

Death  of 



Owen  on 





and  the  New  England  states  and  he  urged  that  it  was  a  false 
system  of  economy  which  held  the  hands  of  our  legislators 
from  establishing  public  schools.  He  submitted  a  plan  for 
a  public  school  system  that  had  been  prepared  at  his  in¬ 
stance.  He  also  boldly  examined  what  he  deemed  was  an¬ 
other  subject  of  state  concern,  the  unhealthy  condition  of 
the  eastern  counties.  Urging  draining  as  a  remedy,  he 
recommended  that  the  State  should  own  its  own  slaves 
to  do  the  necessary  work  in  cleaning  out  the  rivers  for 
transportation  and  in  draining  the  swamp  lands  in  the  east. 








Internal  improvement  convention 

Contemporaneously  with  the  Governor's  message,  there 
was  held  at  Raleigh  an  Internal  Improvement  Convention, 
and  this  was  an  additional  influence  for  legislative  action. 
Under  this  stimulus  the  Legislature  developed  more  sub¬ 
stantial  activity  with  respect  to  transportation  improve¬ 
ments.  A  joint  committee  was  appointed  to  report  on  the 
proposed  railroad  from  Fayetteville  to  the  Yadkin  River. 
An  appropriation  of  $25,000  was  made  to  build  locks  for 
the  canal  at  Weldon,  leading  into  the  Roanoke  River;  and 
the  House  by  a  vote  of  97  to  23  passed  a  bill  to  open 
a  passage  from  Albemarle  Sound  into  the  ocean  through 
Currituck  Inlet,  and  the  Board  of  Internal  Improvements 
was  authorized  to  expend  $2,000  for  that  purpose. 

The  west  now  achieved  its  first  victory  in  its  continued 
struggle  to  alter  the  governmental  system  which  bore  so 
heavily  upon  them.  The  election  of  sheriffs  was  taken  from 
the  justices  and  given  to  the  white  voters  of  the  counties, 
and  that  year  the  election  of  clerks  of  the  county  courts  were 
likewise  allowed  to  the  voters.  But  there  the  eastern  mem¬ 
bers  of  the  Assembly  stopped,  while  the  west  urgently  con¬ 
tended  for  the  election  of  Governor  by  the  popular  vote. 

Senator  Branch,  having  been  appointed  Secretary  of  the 
Navy,  resigned  March  9,  1829,  but  as  there  was  to  be  no 
meeting  of  Congress  until  December,  Governor  Owen  did 
not  appoint  a  successor.  To  succeed  Branch  Samuel  P. 
Carson  of  Burke,  Montfort  Stokes,  Judge  Murphey  and 
Bedford  Brown  were  candidates.  There  were  many  ballots 
taken  without  results,  and  finally  Brown  was  elected. 



On  the  death  of  Chief  Justice  Taylor,  Judge  Leonard 
Henderson,  who  had  been  a  Superior  Court  judge  eight 
years  and  then  a  member  of  the  Supreme  Court  since  its 
formation,  was  chosen  Chief  Justice  by  the  surviving  mem¬ 
bers.  To  fill  the  vacancy  in  the  court,  Governor  Owen  ap¬ 
pointed  Judge  Toomer,  who,  when  the  Assembly  met,  re¬ 
signed,  but  stood  for  election  by  the  Assembly.  How¬ 
ever,  on  November  24,  1829,  Judge  Thomas  Ruffin  was 
elected.  Judge  Ruffin’s  accession  to  the  Supreme  Court 
was  the  beginning  of  a  judicial  career  that  reflected  the 
greatest  credit  on  the  State.  He  was  one  of  the  most  pro¬ 
found  lawyers  of  his  generation,  and  his  opinions  in  later 
years  were  quoted  with  consideration  by  the  English  jurists. 
In  private  and  public  life  he  was  an  exemplar  of  all  that 
was  manly,  courageous  and  elevated  in  human  action. 

On  the  resignation  of  Senator  Macon,  Macon  County 
was  erected  and  named  in  his  honor,  and  now  to  perpetuate 
the  memory  of  the  great  Speaker  of  the  Senate  another 
county  was  proposed — Yancey — but  the  bill  failed  in  the 
Senate,  noes  33,  ayes  28. 

Among'  the  bills  at  that  session,  showing  the  trend  of 
thought,  was  one  to  incorporate  the  Fayetteville  Female 
School  of  Industry  and  to  incorporate  the  Donaldson 

At  Fayetteville  there  had  been  a  firm  of  successful  mer¬ 
chants,  Donaldson  &  McMillan;  the  partner  Robert  Donald¬ 
son  left  two  sons,  James  and  Robert.  They  moved  to  New 
York.  James  married  there  Miss  Lenox,  whose  brother 
gave  the  Lenox  Library  to  the  city.  Robert  married  Miss 
Gaston,  daughter  of  Judge  Gaston,  and  resided  at  Tarry- 
town.  On  his  departure,  he  gave  a  store  lot  for  a  school 
to  be  under  the  management  of  the  Presbytery.  The  school 
was  later  established  on  the  brow  of  Haymount  and  was 
known  as  the  Donaldson  Academy.  The  act  of  incor¬ 
poration  provided  for  an  industrial  department,  allowing 
such  pupils  as  chose  to  do  so  to  pay  for  their  tuition  with 
their  labor.  Other  such  schools  were  started  in  various 
parts  of  the  State,  and  indeed  from  the  very  beginning  of 
the  agitation  for  public  schools,  the  object  was  to  open 






Ruffin  on 
the  bench 









The  tariff 

1830,  p.  16 

the  way  for  poor  children  to  obtain  an  education,  there 
being  no  purpose  to  educate  at  public  expense  those  able 
to  pay. 

The  Governor’s  recommendation  for  the  opening  of  Cur¬ 
rituck  Inlet  was  approved  by  the  Legislature ;  but  those 
about  railways  were  not  acted  on. 

In  the  Senate  a  bill  was  passed  to  incorporate  a  new 
State  bank,  but  eventually  it  was  postponed  in  the  House, 
at  the  instance  of  Gaston,  by  a  majority  of  four,  and  in¬ 
stead,  again  at  Gaston’s  instance,  a  bill  was  passed  extending 
the  time  for  the  banks  to  wind  up  their  affairs. 

There  developed  much  feeling  against  the  course  of  Con¬ 
gress  in  the  matter  of  tariff  duties  and  internal  improve¬ 
ments.  The  legislatures  of  South  Carolina,  Virginia, 
Georgia  and  Missouri  had  passed  resolutions  denouncing 
the  action  of  Congress  on  these  subjects,  and  Vermont  had 
passed  counter  resolutions.  Resolutions  were  introduced  in 
each  house ;  but  no  action  was  taken.  In  contrast  with  other 
resolutions  offered,  those  of  Mr.  Worth  were :  “Although 
the  tariff  laws  are  unwise  and  oppressive  to  the  Southern 
States,  we  cannot  concur  with  the  extremely  violent  and  dan¬ 
gerous  remedies  to  which  the  South  Carolina  doctrine  of 
nullification  manifestly  tends.” 

The  State  being  agricultural,  Macon  and  the  public  men 
generally  regarded  that  the  tariff  was  inimical  to  their  in¬ 
terests  ;  and  they  also  held  that  the  Federal  government  had 
no  right  to  use  public  revenues  for  internal  improvements. 

Such  principles  became  the  basis  of  party  divisions  in  the 
State;  and  so  firmly  were  they  fixed  that  when  Jackson 
vetoed  an  internal  improvement  measure,  the  Maysville 
Road  Bill,  the  Legislature  applauded  him ;  and  when  a 
charter  was  being  considered  for  the  North  Carolina  Central 
Road,  a  proposition  was  made  that  “if  the  company  should 
sell  stock  to  or  receive  any  aid  from  the  Federal  govern¬ 
ment,  the  charter  should  be  forfeited,”  but  the  proposed 
amendment  failed. 

Within  the  State  only  slight  aid  had  been  given  to  the 
construction  of  some  important  highways ;  and  so,  likewise, 
when  the  improvement  of  water  transportation  began,  al- 



though  stock  was  taken  in  companies  to  improve  the 
Roanoke  and  Cape  Fear  rivers,  these  enterprises  were  left 
largely  to  the  individual  citizens.  The  chief  exception, 
where  the  State  acted  itself,  was  in  removing  the  obstruc¬ 
tions  in  the  lower  Cape  Fear,  but  other  than  that  the  work 
had  been  left  in  private  hands,  and  although  the  operations 
on  the  Roanoke  and  Dan  had  been  very  beneficial,  the  efforts 
to  improve  the  Catawba  and  Yadkin  had  not  borne  satis¬ 
factory  fruit.  Indeed,  some  enterprising  spirits  had  suf¬ 
fered  heavy  losses  in  the  failure  of  their  plans  to  improve 
these  streams,  especially  the  Catawba. 





The  Roanoke 




The  Capitol  Burned 

Excitement  over  the  tariff  and  incendiary  publications. — The 
Weldon  Canal. — The  trade  to  Norfolk. — The  Petersburg  Railroad. 
— The  experimental  road. — The  Homestead  Exemption  fails;  also 
to  establish  a  State  bank;  also  to  remove  free  negroes  from  the 
State. — Mangum  and  Owen  clash. — The  settlement. — Mangum 
Senator. — Stokes  Governor. — Alabama  presents  Jackson  for 
President. — The  political  resolves. — The  Government  House  and 
the  Capitol  to  be  painted. — The  roof  of  the  Capitol  on  fire. — Re¬ 
pairs  ordered. — Motion  to  place  the  statue  of  Washington  on 
rollers  not  passed. — Thomas  Bragg  repairs  the  State  House. — 
Movement  of  population. — The  causes  of  emigration. — The  in¬ 
crease  of  the  west. — The  Teachers’  Institute. — Conflagrations  at 
Raleigh. — The  Capitol  destroyed. — Loss  of  the  Library  and  statue 
of  Washington. — The  contest  over  removal  of  capital. — Two  rail¬ 
roads  projected. — The  convention  and  rebuilding  postponed. — 
Hughes  contracts  to  restore  the  statue,  but  fails. — A  free  school 
in  Johnston. — Manufacturing  corporations. — Abolition. — Agi¬ 
tation. — Insurrection  designed. — The  Nat  Turner  insurrection. — 
The  plot  at  Wilmington. — Six  negroes  executed. — Judge  Gaston’s 

At  the  next  session,  Governor  Owen  repeated  his  former 
recommendations  and  urged  that  the  tariff  duties  called 
for  a  solemn  protest.  He  adverted  to  ‘'the  deep  excitement 
that  has  pervaded  the  South”  on  this  subject,  the  conditions 
that  “threaten  the  separation  of  the  Union” ;  and  he  com¬ 
municated,  as  well,  “an  incendiary  publication  circulated 
extensively  throughout  the  Southern  country,  ...  a  sys¬ 
tematic  attempt  to  sow  sedition  among  the  slaves.” 

The  canal  passing  around  the  rapids  of  the  Roanoke  had 
been  opened  to  Weldon,  and  in  1830,  there  were  eight  boats 
regularly  engaged  in  transporting  the  produce  of  the  Roan¬ 
oke  and  Dan  through  the  canal  from  Elizabeth  City  to 
Norfolk.  It  was  this  trade  that  spurred  Petersburg  to 
action,  and  Norfolk,  too — the  prize  they  were  contending 
for.  And  now  Virginia  acted  on  the  subject  of  railroads. 
On  the  10th  of  February,  1830,  the  Petersburg  Railroad 
Company  was  incorporated  at  Richmond,  and  the  Legisla¬ 
ture  of  North  Carolina,  with  some  slight  amendments  and 



additions,  enacted  the  same  charter  as  the  road  entered 
North  Carolina  and  had  its  terminus  on  the  Roanoke  in 
this  State. 

It  was  thought  by  some  desirable  that  an  experimental 
railroad  should  be  constructed  as  an  object  lesson.  No 
more  favorable  site  for  such  a  road  could  be  found  than  that 
at  Fayetteville;  but  the  citizens  were  slow  to  undertake  the 
expense.  At  length,  however,  in  December,  1830,  a  bill 
was  introduced  to  build  the  Camphellton  and  Fayetteville 
Railroad  out  of  the  funds  of  the  State,  but  such  a  measure 
having  been  referred  to  the  committee  on  internal  im¬ 
provement,  that  committee  reported  that  “finances  of  the 
State  did  not  justify  the  construction  of  the  road,”  and  it 
failed  to  pass ;  and  then,  on  motion  of  Mr.  Henry  abandon¬ 
ing  State  aid,  it  was  so  amended  as  to  incorporate  the  Fay¬ 
etteville  Railroad  Company,  and  eventually  it  passed  on 
Christmas  Day,  1830.  But  work  on  the  road  was  delayed; 
and  the  credit  of  successfully  operating  such  an  experimental 
road  was  lost  by  Fayetteville. 

A  most  important  proposition  failed  at  this  session.  Al¬ 
ready  imprisonment  for  debt  had  been  abolished,  and  now 
it  was  proposed  to  establish  a  homestead  exemption.  Fifty 
acres  of  land  including  the  home  premises  were  to  be 
exempt  from  execution.  On  January  3,  1831,  the  bill  being 
in  the  Senate  and  the  vote  a  tie,  the  Speaker  gave  the  casting 
vote  against  it,  and  it  failed ;  another  generation  was  to 
pass  before  such  a  beneficent  measure  was  adopted.  So 
also,  a  bill  to  establish  a  bank  with  the  funds  of  the  State 
that  had  long  been  under  discussion  in  the  Senate  being 
put  to  a  vote,  there  was  a  tie;  broken  by  the  Speaker’s 
casting  vote,  and  the  bill  was  indefinitely  postponed.  An¬ 
other  measure  of  interest  was  the  report  of  a  select  com¬ 
mittee,  William  B.  Meares,  chairman,  on  a  proposition  to 
remove  free  persons  of  color  from  the  State.  Such  a  bill 
was  favorably  reported,  but  was  not  acted  on  by  the  House. 

To  fill  out  Macon’s  term  as  Senator,  Judge  Iredell  was 
chosen  in  December,  1828,  Mangum,  whose  name  had  been 
mentioned,  having  yielded  that  honor  to  Iredell,  he  himself 
taking  a  judgeship.  Now  as  the  end  of  that  term  ap- 







Mangum  and 
Owen  clash 



Biog.  Hist., 
Y,  242,  244 

proached,  Mangum  became  a  candidate,  as  also  were  Gov¬ 
ernor  Owen,  Judge  Donnell,  R.  D.  Spaight  and  Montfort 
Stokes,  the  latter  being  a  western  man.  It  was  thought  bv 
some  that  Judge  Donnell  would  beat  Owen  for  Senator 
and  that  Spaight  would  beat  him  as  Governor.  Such  was 
the  combination  against  Owen.  But  Mangum  was  de¬ 
termined  to  be  Senator  and]  he  was  bitter  that  Owen,  being 
eligible  as  Governor  another  year,  should  have  entered  the 
race  for  Senator.  When  the  ballots  were  in  progress  on  the 
opening  in  December,  Mangum  wrote  letters  denouncing 
Owen’s  political  principles  and  at  once  notified  Owen  of 
his  letters  and  avowed  his  willingness  to  give  him  the  sat¬ 
isfaction  usual  among  gentlemen.  Owen  accepted  his  chal¬ 
lenge,  Louis  D.  Henry  being  his  second ;  and  W.  M.  Sneed 
acted  for  Mangum.  Mangum  then  directed  his  name  to  be 
withdrawn;  but  on  December  3,  Judge  Saunders  wrote  Man¬ 
gum  that  hi§  letter  was  not  received  until  there  had  been 
two  ballots — that  Owen  had  97  votes,  he  86  and  14  blanks. 
He  proposed  postponing  the  election  till  next  session,  and 
added  “Charles  Fisher  feels  confident  your  presence  and 
nothing  else  can  save  us  from  Owen’s  election.  I  view  his 
success  as  fatal  to  our  future  prospects.”  Eventually  the 
affair  of  honor  was  called  off,*  and  Owen  retired  from  the 
race,  and  Mangum  was  chosen  Senator  as  a  supporter  of 
Jackson,  and  he  resigned  as  judge.  While  this  was  an 
unusually  bitter  contest,  yet  in  a  measure  it  illustrates  the 
course  of  affairs  among  the  public  men  of  that  period.  For 
the  governorship,  after  many  ballots,  Montfort  Stokes  was 
successful  over  J.  T.  McKay  of  Bladen ;  and  Owen  retired  to 
his  plantation  in  Bladen.  He  was  a  gentleman  of  a  nice 
sense  of  honor  and  a  man  of  ability. 

*It  seems  probable  that  Mangum  withdrew  his  letter,  and  so  the  trouble 
was  amicably  settled;  and  that  this  was  brought  about  by  John  Chavis,  a  re¬ 
markable  negro  man.  Chavis  had  been  educated  by  Dr.  Weatherspoon, 
the  President  of  Princeton,  just  before  the  Revolution,  and  served  as  a 
soldier  in  the  war.  Eventually  he  became  a  licensed  Presbyterian  minister. 
He  was  respected  as  a  man  of  education,  good  sense  and  most  estimable 
character  and  as  a  teacher  and  minister.  In  1808  he  opened  a  school  in 
Raleigh  for  the  white  children;  and  with  “an  evening  school  to  ten  o’clock 
for  colored  children.’’  Attention  being  paid  not  only  to  their  education, 
but  to  their  morals  which  he  deemed  an  important  part  of  their  education. 
Later  he  had  a  school  in  Granville  County  and  he  taught  at  Hillsboro  and 
elsewhere,  among  his  pupils  being  boys  who  subsequently  became  distinguished, 
such  as  Senator  Mangum  and  others.  He  was  esteemed  and  respected. 



Now  that  the  Congressional  caucus  had  been  discarded 
the  Legislatures  of  some  of  the  states  substituted  the  prac¬ 
tice  of  presenting  the  name  of  their  presidential  candidate. 
Alabama  had  originally  presented  Andrew  Jackson  and  now 
again  did  so.  In  the  Assembly  there  were  several  shades 
of  opinion.  There  were  those  bitterly  opposed  to  nullifi¬ 
cation;  those  sustaining  Jackson’s  administration,  especially 
because  he  had  turned  his  back  on  internal  improvements 
by  Congress.  Various  resolutions  were  introduced.  Jona¬ 
than  Worth  offered  one  that  “The  Legislature  does  not 
recognize  the  right  of  an  individual  state  to  nullify  a  law 
of  the  Lhiited  States  and  that  the  Union  must  be  preserved.” 
While  the  part  relating  to  the  preservation  of  the  Union  was 
adopted  unanimously;  that  denying  the  right  of  nullifica¬ 
tion  did  not  receive  the  sanction  of  twenty-seven  members 
who  were  followers  of  Calhoun. 

Another  set  of  resolutions  offered  by  Sawyer  approving 
Jackson’s  administration,  and  especially  his  veto  of  the 
Mayfield  Road  Bill  and  declaring  that  his  reelection  was 
highly  necessary  to  preserve  the  Union,  passed  the  House 
by  97  to  9.  Among  the  nays  were  Barringer,  Joseph  A. 
Hill,  Mendenhall  and  Worth.  Worth  would  not  vote  for 
Jackson.  In  the  Senate  these  resolutions  were  tabled  20 
to  16,  which  brought  forth  protests  that  “while  the  resolu¬ 
tions  spoke  the  wishes  of  a  large  majority  of  the  people, 
a  few  persons  in  the  Senate  could  defeat  them.” 

On  December  27,  1830,  a  resolution  was  passed  to  require 
that  the  Government  House,  as  the  Governor’s  residence  was 
called,  be  covered  with  good  shingles  and  painted,  and  that 
the  roof  of  the  Capitol  be  painted  and  the  leaks  in  the  gut¬ 
ters  stopped.  On  the  evening  of  January  6,  1831,  while  the 
Assembly  was  in  session,  the  roof  of  the  State  House  caught 
on  fire,  but  through  the  exertions  of  John  B.  Muse  and 
others,  including  half  a  dozen  negro  slaves,  the  fire  was 
subdued.  The  next  day  the  Assembly  passed  a  bill  direct¬ 
ing  that  the  building  should  be  covered  with  some  metal, 
so  as  to  be  fire-proof,  and  that  a  cistern  should  be  con¬ 
structed  on  the  lot  and  a  fire  engine  and  buckets  provided 
and  that  repairs  should  be  made  to  the  State  House,  the 

The  factions 


The  Capitol 
on  fire 






Governor’s  house  and  the  Secretary's  office.  It  was  pro¬ 
posed,  because  of  the  possibility  of  fire,  that  the  statue  of 
Washington  should  be  placed  on  rollers  so  that  it  might 
be  removed  in  case  of  need ;  hut  the  session  was  now  near 
its  close  and  the  motion  was  not  considered.  After  the  ad¬ 
journment  of  the  Assembly  the  contract  for  repairing  the 
State  House  was  let  to  Thomas  Bragg,  a  builder. 

Tlte  movement  of  population 

There  was  a  prevailing  impression  that  the  eastern  part 
of  the  State  was  very  unhealthy,  the  cause  being  largely 
attributed  to  the  swamps  and  undrained  lands.  At  that 
period,  before  the  days  of  buggies,  travel  was  generally 
on  horseback  although  some  persons  used  gigs  and  a  few 
carriages.  The  judges  who  rode  the  eastern  circuits  found 
their  health  impaired  and  some  even  resigned  on  that  ac¬ 
count,  so  notwithstanding  the  advantage  of  water  trans¬ 
portation  enjoyed  by  the  residents  of  the  east,  there  was  a 
disposition  to  move  away.  By  the  census  of  1800,  eight 
eastern  counties  had  lost  population,  among  them  Craven 
and  Halifax,  and  others  fell  far  below  the  general  average 
of  increase.  In  1810,  six  eastern  counties  lost  population, 
and  others  fell  below  the  general  average  of  increase,  six¬ 
teen  per  cent.  In  the  next  period,  four  more  at  the  east 
had  lost  population,  among  them  New  Hanover;  nor  did 
the  emigrants  stop  in  the  western  counties.  They  sought 
homes  farther  away.  Perhaps  there  being  much  land,  and 
but  little  systematic  improvement  of  the  open  fields  either 
by  the  use  of  manure  or  by  rotation  of  crops,  constant  cul¬ 
tivation  resulted  in  the  impoverishment  of  the  soil.  Certainly 
taxation  was  not  oppressive,  six  cents  on  the  hundred  dollars 
worth  of  property,  and  the  assessment  very  low.  Nor  were 
the  emigrants  from  the  poor,  illiterate  class.  On  the  con¬ 
trary  it  was  the  better  class  that  was  able  to  remove,  men 
who  hoped  to  better  their  fortunes.  The  movement  was  so 
observable  that  one  of  the  Governors  in  directing  the  atten- 
tion  of  the  Assembly  to  it,  mentioned  that  “the  sons  having 
gone  to  the  west,  and  established  homes  for  themselves,  their 
fathers  proposing  to  join  them  were  offering  their  farms 



for  sale,  and  there  was  everywhere  throughout  the  State 
much  land  for  sale  and  no  purchasers.”  Among  the  emi¬ 
grants  were  many  men  of  substance  and  education  who 
carried  their  slaves  with  them.  And  so  it  was  also  at  the 
west,  although  the  movement  from  the  Piedmont  region  was 
mostly  to  north  of  the  Ohio. 

The  Piedmont  region  had  originally  been  occupied  by 
Germans  and  Scotch-Irish,  and  later,  came  Quakers  from 
Nantucket  and  elsewhere.  These,  like  the  Moravians  at 
Salem,  had  multiplied. 

The  great  revival  of  1800  led  to  the  organization  of  the 
Synod  of  the  Lutherans  in  May,  1803.  In  1806,  in  Orange 
and  Guilford  there  were  three  Lutheran  churches ;  in  Rowan 
four,  in  Lincoln  eight,  and  Lutherans  had  extended  into  Ire¬ 
dell,  Burke  and  Wilkes.  There  were  also  congregations  of 
the  Reformed  German  Church.  Thousands  of  German 
families,  however,  migrated  to  Ohio,  Indiana  and  Illinois  so 
that  there  were  Lutheran  congregations  in  those  states 
composed  almost  entirely  of  North  Carolinians. 

In  1806  the  Moravians  had  six  congregations,  five  using 
the  German  language  and  one  the  English.  And  similarly  the 
Lutherans  held  to  the  German  for  generations ;  so  likewise 
the  Gaelic  was  still  in  use  on  the  upper  Cape  Fear. 

The  exodus  that  was  annually  kept  up  for  decades  by  the 
Lutherans  did  not  extend  to  the  Moravians,  nor  so  posi¬ 
tively  to  the  Scotch-Irish :  but  later  it  swept  vigorously 
through  the  Quaker  settlements,  those  emigrants  going  par¬ 
ticularly  to  Indiana.  Mrs.  Coffin  is  said  to  have  given  the 
names  of  300  Quaker  families  whose  removal  to  Indiana 
she  individually  knew  of.  This  general  movement  was  sup¬ 
posed  to  be  to  a  land  of  promise ;  but  by  this  time  it  is  notable 
that  there  were  slaves  and  free  negroes  in  every  county: 
in  Ashe,  600;  Burke,  800;  Buncombe,  1750;  Macon,  496  and 
Haywood,  452;  and  this  influenced  the  Quakers,  also.  But 
elsewhere  there  was  a  similar  movement  of  population. 
The  census  of  1830  shows  that  Connecticut,  the  land  of 
steady  habits  and  of  common  schools,  gained  in  that  decade 
but  eight  per  cent  in  population  ;  New  Hampshire,  but  ten 








per  cent 






per  cent ;  South  Carolina  gained  only  eight  per  cent ;  North 
Carolina,  thirteen,  and  Virginia,  fifteen  per  cent. 

The  general  incentive  to  removal  was  hope  of  better  lo¬ 
cation.  In  1819,  Murphey,  the  foremost  man  in  the  State 
in  progressive  ideas,  had  a  notion  to  quit  the  State  “as  soon 
as  I  get  my  debts  paid  off” ;  and  later  he  had  a  settled  pur¬ 
pose  to  remove.  Whole  connections,  like  those  associated 
with  the  Revolutionary  patriot,  Col.  William  Shepperd, 
moved  together;  the  families  of  William  B.  Grove,  John 
Hay,  Sam  Porter  Ashe  and  the  educator,  Dr.  Rogers,  all 
having  married  sisters,  removed  to  Tennessee  about  1825. 
And  so  it  was  frequently.  Indeed,  a  North  Carolinian  liv¬ 
ing  in  a  new  home  wrote:  “I  was  almost  in  hopes  that  her 
wise  men  would  have  abolished  the  Supreme  Court  and  by 
that  means  have  driven  from  the  State  the  eminent  men  who 
yet  linger  within  her  borders.”  And  it  is  to  be  remarked 
that  much  of  the  patronage  of  the  State  University  came 
from  the  families  that  had  moved  away.  Indeed  the  exodus 
appears,  to  have  come  from  the  natural  desire  of  enter¬ 
prising  people  to  better  their  fortunes,  shared  alike  at  the 
north  and  at  the  south.  At  that  period  the  public  mind  had 
long  been  directed  to  State  improvement.  The  chief 
thought  was  to  make  life  more  tolerable.  The  first  en¬ 
deavor  had  been  to  improve  the  rivers  and  water-courses. 
The  communities  were  far  separated ;  a  line  through  the 
State  from  the  northeast  to  the  southwest  would  reach  to 
Canada.  Community  interests  were  not  similar.  There 
were  natural  obstacles  to  development,  and  in  the  sparsely 
settled  country  there  were  obstacles  even  to  much  personal 
intercourse  between  the  various  strains  of  population  located 
in  the  several  sections  of  the  State.  Yet  it  is  to  be  observed 
that  the  reports  of  Murphey,  the  first  geological  survey, 
the  employment  of  Fulton,  and  efforts  to  improve  the  rivers 
and  introduce  railroads,  and  many  other  similar  measures 
attest  gratifying  intellectual  activity.  The  public  men  were 
efficient  but  conditions  were  not  favorable  to  achievement. 


3  37 

The  Teachers’  Institute 

In  the  spring  of  1831,  the  teachers  and  others  interested 
in  education  were  urged  to  attend  at  the  commencement  of 
the  University  in  June  and  associate  themselves  into  a 
society.  Many  did  so.  On  organization,  for  president  was 
chosen  Dr.  Simmons  G.  Baker,  originally  of  Martin  County 
but  later  a  resident  of  Raleigh.  Dr.  Baker  was  mentioned 
in  1829  by  Dr.  Mitchell  “as  a  man  of  liberal  education,  very 
lively  and  intelligent  in  his  conversation,  a  trustee  of  the 
University.  .  .  .  He  sets  a  higher  value  on  the  amor 

patriae  than  any  man  I  have  ever  known.”  Doctor 
McPheeters,  Rev.  William  M.  Green  and  Judge  Nash  were 
the  vice-presidents.  Various  gentlemen  were  asked  to 
deliver  addresses  at  the  next  meeting,  and  at  the  meeting 
in  1833,  Joseph  A.  Hill,  understood  to  have  been  the  most 
accomplished  orator  of  that  period,  delivered  the  address, 
“rendered  more  acceptable  by  the  wit,  fancy  and  felicity  and 
eloquence  of  language  which  accompanied  and  embellished 
it.”  But  the  subsequent  meetings  of  the  Society  were  not 
reported  in  the  papers ;  apparently  the  Institute  passed  away. 

The  Capitol  destroyed 

Already  Raleigh  had  suffered  severely  by  extensive  con¬ 
flagrations.  On  several  occasions  the  east  side  of  Fayette¬ 
ville  Street  between  Union  Square  and  Martin  Street  had 
been  partially  swept  away.  When  Thomas  Bragg,  the  con¬ 
tractor,  had  nearly  completed  his  work  of  covering  the 
Capitol  with  a  metal  roof,  through  the  carelessness  of  a 
workman,  the  building  caught  within  the  roof.  On  the 
bright  morning  in  June  21  the  citizens  were  startled  by  the 
alarm  of  fire,  volumes  of  smoke  were  seen  issuing  from  the 
ventilators  under  the  roof.  Judge  Battle  narrates  that  just 
as  he  stepped  out  of  his  hotel,  looking  towards  the  building, 
he  saw  owls  flying  from  the  attic  windows,  followed  by 
lurid  flames.  There  were  no  adequate  means  for  the  ex¬ 
tinguishment  of  the  fire.  The  citizens  gathered  and  ad¬ 
dressed  themselves  to  saving  the  State  papers,  but  the 
statue  of  Washington  could  not  be  removed.  As  the  hours 


June  21, 


statue  of 




Journal,  145 

with  west 


northeast  for 



Journal,  10 

passed,  they  saw  it  doomed  to  destruction.  Helpless  to 
avert  the  calamity,  they  gazed  with  horror  on  the  splendid 
work  of  Canova,  crumbling  in  the  heat  of  the  conflagra¬ 
tion,  and  then  shattered  into  fragments  as  the  burning  tim¬ 
bers  fell  upon  it.  The  Capitol  was  entirely  destroyed. 
The  Raleigh  Register  two  days  later  said :  “Of  that  noble 
edifice  with  its  special  decorations  nothing  now  remains 
but  the  blackened  walls  and  smouldering  rums.  The  State 
Library  is  also  entirely  consumed  and  the  statue  of  Wash¬ 
ington,  that  proud  monument  of  national  gratitude  which 
was  our  pride  and  glory,  is  so  mutilated  and  defaced  that 
none  can  behold  it  without  mournful  feelings.  The  most 
active  exertions  were  made  to  remove  the  chef-d’avoeure  of 
Canova  from  the  ravages  of  the  devouring  elements  nor 
were  they  desisted  from  until  the  danger  became  imminent.” 

As  the  day  for  the  assembling  of  the  Legislature  ap¬ 
proached,  the  congregation  of  the  Presbyterian  Church  pa¬ 
triotically  “tendered  the  use  of  their  meeting  house  for  the 
accommodation  of  the  House  of  Commons,  and  their  ses¬ 
sion  room  for  the  Senate,”  but  Governor  Stokes  had  the 
Government  House  prepared  for  the  use  of  the  Legislature. 
When  the  members  of  the  Assembly  arrived  he  tendered 
them  its  use.  There  was  some  question  whether  the  Legis¬ 
lature  could  lawfully  sit  in  a  building  outside  of  the  cor¬ 
porate  limits,  but  the  qualms  of  conscience  were  quieted. 
The  destruction  of  the  Capitol  brought  a  new  sectional  ques¬ 
tion  into  the  realm  of  action.  Fayetteville  hoped  to  profit 
from  the  situation,  and  the  west  being  anxious  for  railroads 
and  for  a  convention  now  evidently  there  was  room  for 
an  alliance.  The  northeast  had  originally  fixed  on  the  site 
of  Raleigh  for  the  Capital  and  now  stood  firmly  for  no 
change  of  location,  besides  the  northeast  was  not  interested 
in  either  the  Cape  Fear  and  Yadkin  Valley  Railroad  or  in 
the  central  road.  Wilmington  and  the  Cape  Fear  section 
stood  with  Fayetteville  both  as  to  railroads  and  the  removal 
of  the  Capitol.  Hardly  had  the  Assembly  met  when  Senator 
Seawell  of  Wake  introduced  a  bill  making  an  appropriation 
for  rebuilding  the  Capitol  on  Lmion  Square.  The  amount 
was  at  first  left  blank ;  but  when  he  took  the  bill  up,  he 



suggested  $30,000.  Judge  Toomer  of  Fayetteville  pro¬ 
posed  $100,000.  The  Senate  inserted  $30,000;  but  Martin 
of  Rockingham  moved  to  postpone  until  November  next, 
which  was  carried  32  to  31.  Two  days  later  Dishough  of 
Onslow  proposed  a  joint  committee  to  inquire  into  the  ex¬ 
pediency  of  chartering  a  road  from  Beaufort  to  the  Blue 
Ridge  and  Judge  Toomer  proposed  that  the  same  com¬ 
mittee  should  inquire  as  to  the  building  of  a  road  from  the 
Cape  Fear  to  the  Yadkin;  and  Williams  of  Franklin  pro¬ 
posed  a  road  from  Louisburg  to  meet  the  Petersburg  road 
near  Halifax.  Each  of  these  propositions  had  its  bearing 
on  the  rebuilding  of  the  Capitol.  Gaston  was  delayed  in 
attending.  When  he  appeared  on  December  16,  it  was 
arranged  that  he  should  serve  on  this  railroad  committee ; 
and  coincident  with  that,  Harper  of  Greene  introduced  a 
bill  in  the  House  to  rebuild  the  Capitol  at  Raleigh.  Two 
days  later  Gaston  reported  the  two  railroad  bills  that  con¬ 
cerned  the  west,  and  they  were  made  the  order  for  the  fol¬ 
lowing  day.  Then  the  House  took  up  the  Capitol  bill. 
W.  H.  Haywood,  Jr.,  in  support  and  Louis  D.  Henry  in 
opposition.  The  discussion  continued  for  two  days,  it 
being  affirmed  that  the  capital  could  be  removed  only  by  a 
convention.  Then  Henry  carried  his  point,  and  the  bill 
failed  by  a  vote  of  65  for;  68  against.  The  west  was  now 
hopeful  of  a  convention  and  a  bill  authorizing  the  election 
of  delegates  to  a  constitutional  convention  was  submitted. 
On  January  4,  1832,  the  House  went  into  committee  of  the 
whole  to  consider  the  resolutions.  The  discussion  was  con¬ 
tinued  on  the  5th  and  6th,  when  at  last  a  motion  to  postpone 
indefinitely  was  carried  by  70  to  55.  As  far  as  she  could, 
Fayetteville  rallied  her  friends  for  the  support  of  this  prop¬ 
osition,  but  the  lower  Cape  Fear  country  did  not  stand 
solidly  with  her.  Senator  John  M.  Dick  of  Guilford  of¬ 
fered  a  resolution  to  have  an  election  for  delegates  to  a 
constitutional  convention,  while  in  the  House  the  two  rail¬ 
road  bills  were  passed  and  were  sent  to  the  Senate.  The 
Senate  now  spent  two  days  on  the  convention  bill  and  post¬ 
poned  it  indefinitely,  42  to  21  ;  and  then  the  railroad  bills 
were  passed.  Three  days  later,  Senator  Sneed  of  Granville 


The  contest 

The  west 
hopes  for  a 



1831,  p.  43 

The  statue 

p.  138 

offered  a  new  bill  to  rebuild  the  Capitol  at  Raleigh.  There 
was  a  long  and  stiff  fight,  but  on  January  n,  the  eve  of 
adjournment,  a  vote  was  reached  resulting  in  a  tie  and  the 
Speaker  voted  nay !  Both  the  convention  and  Capitol  bills 
had  failed,  but  the  railroad  bills  were  passed. 

During  the  debate  on  the  rebuilding  of  the  Capitol,  Gaston 
made  two  great  speeches  for  the  bill,  the  first  of  which  was 
published.  Mr.  Creecy,  who  heard  both,  said  that  the 
second  was  the  greatest  speech  ever  delivered  in  a  legis¬ 
lative  body,  and  the  defeat  of  the  proposition  to  remove 
the  Capitol  has  been  ascribed  to  Gaston.  It  was  his  last 
service  in  the  Assembly.  He  insisted  that  the  location  of 
the  Capitol  could  not  be  changed  by  the  Legislature. 

Governor  Stokes  while  lamenting  the  destruction  of  the 
statue  of  Washington  said  to  the  Assembly  when  it  met, 
that  in  his  opinion  “the  loss  of  the  building  itself  is  not  to 
be  considered  a  public  calamity ;  that  it  was  very  probable 
that  a  part  of  the  building  would  have  fallen  in  a  few  years 
and  perhaps  have  caused  the  death  of  many  of  the  Represent¬ 
atives.”  The  destruction  of  the  statue,  which  was  regarded 
as  one  of  the  great  treasures  of  the  world,  was  lamented 
not  only  here  but  throughout  the  North.  Six  days  after  the 
fire,  a  sculptor,  Ball  Hughes,  an  Englishman  who  had  been 
in  this  country  two  years,  wrote  to  Mr.  Thomas  Devereux 
saying  that  Mr.  Robert  Lennox  had  suggested  that  he 
might  offer  his  services  for  restoring  the  statue.  In  Decem¬ 
ber,  Hughes  was  in  Raleigh,  and  after  an  examination  said 
he  could  restore  it.  Immediately  the  Legislature  appointed 
a  committee  of  which  Gaston  was  chairman  who  reported 
that  they  believed  Hughes  could  do  the  work  satisfactorily, 
and  that  he  would  charge  $5,000  for  the  service.  The  Legis¬ 
lature  authorized  the  Governor  to  make  a  contract  with  him 
on  the  terms  of  the  report-.  Such  a  contract  was  made,  and 
first  and  last  $2,800  was  paid  him,  but  unfortunately  he  did 
not  complete  the  work.  The  pieces  of  the  statue  have  been 
preserved  at  Raleigh. 

The  Assembly  passed  resolutions  approving  Jackson’s  ad¬ 
ministration  declaring  that  “the  best  interests  of  the  Union 
will  be  preserved  and  promoted  bv  his  reelection  and  recom- 



mending  him  to  the  people  of  the  United  States  for 

A  free  school  established 

Among  the  other  acts  was  one  establishing  a  free  school 
in  Johnston  County.  It  authorized  the  county  court  to  lay 
a  county  tax  to  establish  one  or  more  free  schools  in  John¬ 
ston  County.  Also  at  that  session  the  Yadkin  Manufac¬ 
turing  Company  was  incorporated  to  manufacture  cotton 
and  woolen  goods.  The  capital  stock  was  to  be  $100,000. 
Charles  Fisher  and  Samuel  Lemly  were  among  the  incor¬ 
porators.  Similarly  the  Neuse  Manufacturing  Company, 
composed  of  William  Boylan,  J.  O.  Watson,  David  Thomp¬ 
son  and  others,  was  incorporated  to  manufacture  cotton  and 
woolen  goods,  with  a  capital  of  $100,000. 

Aat  Turner’s  insurrection 

At  this  period  a  great  campaign  was  conducted  in  England 
for  the  emancipation  of  the  slaves  in  the  British  West  In¬ 
dies,  which  was  successful  in  1830,  and  then  some  English 
orators  made  addresses  in  Northern  States.  And  coincident 
with  their  coming  the  basis  of  Northern  opposition  to  slavery 
seemed  to  change.  Formerly  it  had  been  political;  now 
the  moral  question  became  more  prominent.  Conscience 
was  awakened;  and  fanaticism  knew  no  bounds.  Speaking 
of  the  negroes  in  the  State,  Governor  Stokes  said  in  his 
message:  “Fanatics  of  their  complexion  and  other  incen¬ 
diaries  have  fomented  their  discontents  and  have  incited 
them  in  many  instances  to  enter  into  conspiracies  dan¬ 
gerous  to  the  peace  and  safety  of  the  country.”  So,  at 
the  session  of  1830  the  Joint  Select  Committee  on  the 
Governor’s  message,  reported;  “they  are  satisfied  that  an 
extensive  combination  now  exists  to  excite  in  the  minds  of 
the  slaves  and  colored  persons  of  this  and  the  other  slave¬ 
holding  states,  feelings  and  opinions  tending  to  insurrection. 
.  .  .  Designs  have  been  certainly  contemplated  and,  per¬ 

haps,  plans  actually  formed,  to  subvert  the  relation  of  master 
and  slave.  The  actual  detection  of  the  circulation  of  the 

New  mills 







Nat  Turner 



of  the  Cape 
Fear,  107 

incendiary  publications  and  the  accidental  but  partial  dis¬ 
covery  of  the  designs,  which  have  been  entertained  by  some 
slaves  at  points  of  the  State  remote  from  each  other,  to¬ 
gether  with  the  disclosure  of  facts  relative  to  those  designs, 
leave  no  doubt,  etc.  .  .  .  It  is  fruitless  to  complain  of  the 
relation  between  master  and  slave.  .  .  .  It  is  a  state  of 

things  thrown  upon  us,  an  evil  which  it  is  impossible  at 
present  to  remedy.  And  when  we  observe  the  radical 
difference  between  the  ideas,  the  deportment  and  habits  of 
the  slaves  of  the  present  day  and  those  of  twenty  years  since, 
we  are  justly  led  to  fear  that  unless  some  change  in  our 
general  police  is  effected,  the  most  ruinous  consequence 
may  be  apprehended.”  The  committee  reported  bills ;  one 
was  to  prevent  all  persons  from  teaching  slaves  to  read  and 
write  (figures  excepted)  which  was  passed.  Months  after 
this  report  was  made,  on  Sunday  night,  August  21,  1831, 
a.  band  of  some  sixty  negroes,  under  the  leadership  of  a 
negro  slave,  Nat  Turner,  murdered  in  Southampton  County, 
Virginia,  fifty-five  persons.  The  next  day  became  known 
as  Bloody  Monday.  The  other  whites  in  that  vicinity  fled 
across  the  line  to  Murfreesboro,  the  nearest  town.  A  troop 
of  horse  was  at  once  raised,  among  them  being  John  H. 
Wheeler,  the  historian.  They  along  with  others  scoured 
the  country,  arresting  the  negroes. 

A  plot  for  a  similar  insurrection  was  discovered  near 
Wilmington.  There  was  much  alarm  felt  in  the  country, 
and  the  whites  hurried  to  the  town.  At  the  fall  term  1831, 
of  New  Hanover  Superior  Court  six  negroes  were 
placed  in  jail  charged  with  attempting  to  incite  an  insur¬ 
rection.  Judge  Strange  presided  and  the  negroes  after  an 
impartial  trial  were  convicted  and  executed.  While  no 
other  outburst  is  recorded  there  was  widespread  alarm : 
and  when  the  Assembly  met  provision  was  made  for  military 
companies  to  be  organized  in  many  counties. 

But  thoughtful  men  realized  more  than  ever  the  situation 
of  the  Southern  States,  with  such  a  large  population  of 
Africans  held  to  servitude,  who  could  not  without  peril  be 
turned  loose  as  freemen,  nor  deported  from  this  country. 
At  the  University  commencement  in  1832,  Gaston,  the  fore- 



most  North  Carolinian,  delivered  an  address  on  the  Duties 
of  Citizenship.  In  it  he  referred  to  the  existence  of  slavery; 
and  said :  “On  you,  too,  will  devolve  the  duty,  which  has  been 
too  long  neglected,  but  which  cannot  with  impunity  be  neg¬ 
lected  much  longer,  of  providing  for  the  mitigation,  and 
(is  it  too  much  to  be  hoped  for  in  North  Carolina)  for  the 
ultimate  extirpation  of  the  worst  evil  that  afflicts  the  south¬ 
ern  part  of  our  confederacy.  .  .  .  On  this  subject  there 

is  with  all  of  us  a  morbid  sensitiveness  which  gives  warning 
even  of  an  approach  to  it.  How  this  evil  is  to  be  encoun¬ 
tered,  how  subdued,  is  indeed  a  difficult  and  delicate  inquiry, 
which  this  is  not  the  time  to  examine  or  discuss.  I  felt 
however,  that  I  could  not  discharge  my  duty  without  re¬ 
ferring  to  this  subject,  to  engage  the  prudence,  modera¬ 
tion  and  firmness  of  those  who,  sooner  or  later,  must  act 
decisively  upon  it.  .  .  .  Perils  surround  you  and  are 

imminent,  which  will  require  clear  heads,  pure  intentions 
and  stout  hearts  to  disarm  and  overcome.” 




Swain  Governor 

Influence  of  Virginia’s  action. — The  New  England  Society. — 
Jackson  breaks  with  Calhoun. — The  Cabinet  resigns. — The  Na¬ 
tional  Republicans. — The  first  national  political  convention. — 
The  elections  go  against  Clay. — South  Carolina  calls  a  convention. 
— It  declares  the  tariff  laws  shall  not  be  observed  after  Feb¬ 
ruary,  1833. — Jackson’s  stand. — His  Force  Bill. — The  country 
goes  against  Clay. — He  averts  civil  war. — The  compromise. — 
Mangum  leaves  the  President. — Caldwell’s  letters  on  schools. — 
The  Virginia  roads, — The  experimental  railroad. — Political  con¬ 
ditions. — Swain’s  career. — Elected  Governor. — Pearson  proposes  a 
convention. — The  Capitol  to  be  rebuilt. — Convention  fails. — Reso¬ 
lutions  of  Polk  of  Anson  to  submit  the  convention  to  popular 
vote. — A  tie  vote. — Speaker  Henry  disappoints  Fayetteville;  de¬ 
feats  the  proposition. — The  western  members  hold  a  meeting, 
asking  the  people  to  vote. — The  North  Carolina  Historical  So¬ 
ciety. — The  Bank  of  the  iState  winds  up,  and  State  Bank  char¬ 
tered. — Provision  for  rebuilding. — The  Internal  Improvement  Con¬ 
vention. — Caldwell’s  ideas  prevail. — Hill  victorious  over  Graham 
as  to  State  policy. — The  falling  stars. — Swain’s  great  message 
urges  progress  and  reform. — He  announces  vote  on  Convention 
in  30  counties. — Yancey  County. — The  second  Improvement  Con¬ 
vention. — Many  railroad  charters  granted. — No  State  aid. — Daniel 
Attorney-General. — Banks  and  academies. — The  Manual  Labor 
schools. — The  Griffin  Free  School  at  New  Bern. — The  west  again 
disappointed. — Chief  Justice  dies. — Ruffin  Chief  Justice. — Gaston 
on  thei  bench. — His  opions. — A  free  born  negro  a  citizen. — 
Will’s  case. 

The  west  successful  in  Virginia 

Conditions  in  Virginia  were  quite  similar  to  those  in 
North  Carolina.  The  settled  east,  with  its  slave  population, 
and  the  remote  west  were  in  conflict  over  constitutional 
reforms.  At  length,  in  1828,  the  Legislature  of  Virginia 
submitted  the  question  of  a  convention  to  the  voters,  and 
the  west  won.  The  convention  met  in  October,  1829,  and 
adjourned  in  January,  1830.  The  changes  made  in  the 
Constitution  increased  the  power  of  the  western  counties ; 
and  this  object  lesson  necessarily  had  an  inspiring  influence 



- * - — 

in  Western  Carolina.  Indeed,  on  December  28,  1830,  Mr. 
Alfred  C.  Moore  of  Surry  County  presented  resolutions  in 
the  Assembly  submitting  to  the  voters  the  question  of  call¬ 
ing  a  convention ;  but  it  was  defeated  in  the  House  by  a 
vote  of  74  to  53.  North  Carolina  was  not  ready  to  follow 
the  example  of  Virginia. 


However,  the  debates  in  the  Virginia  convention  touch¬ 
ing  the  negro  question,  not  only  influenced  the  white  voters 
of  Western  Virginia,  but  contributed  to  the  agitation  per¬ 
vading  the  North.  Indeed,  at  the  Virginia  Assembly  of 

1832,  a  proposition  was  offered  looking  to  the  gradual 
emancipation  of  the  slaves,  following  the  example  of  Great 
Britain,  and  despite  the  Nat  Turner  insurrection,  it  failed 
by  only  one  or  two  votes. 

Virginia  was  about  ready  for  gradual  emancipation.  But 
contemporaneously  with  these  events  in  Virginia,  a  party, 
insisting  on  immediate  abolition,  sprang  up  at  the  North,  and 
in  January,  1832,  the  New  England  Anti-Slavery  Society 
was  formed  by  William  Lloyd  Garrison,  and  in  December, 

1833,  a  National  Anti-Slavery  Convention  was  held  in 
Philadelphia,  the  slogan  being,  “Immediate  Emancipation.” 
This  new  development  tended  to  stifle  any  inclination  at 
the  South  to  favorably  consider  gradual  emancipation,  and 
it  resulted  in  throwing  around  the  slaves  still  greater  re¬ 
strictions  in  their  daily  life. 

Jackson  reelected 

About  the  beginning  of  1831,  Jackson  withdrew  his  per¬ 
sonal  friendship  from  Vice  President  Calhoun,  and  in  the 
spring  of  1831,  for  social  reasons,  he  found  it  necessary 
to  reorganize  his  Cabinet;  and  Branch  along  with  all  other 
Cabinet  officers  resigned. 

In  December,  1831,  when  Congress  met,  there  was  held 
at  Baltimore  the  first  national  political  convention,  an  in¬ 
novation  that  supplied  the  place  of  the  congressional  cau¬ 
cus.  The  supporters  of  Henry  Clay,  still  calling  thern- 

The  first 






July,  1832 

The  South 



Nov.  1832 

- f - 

selves  National  Republicans,  met  there  in  convention  and 
nominated  him  for  President  and  John  Sergeant  for  Vice 

And  in  May,  1832,  a  similar  convention  of  Administra¬ 
tion  Republicans  nominated  Jackson  and  Van  Buren.  In  the 
meantime,  Congress  was  considering  a  new  tariff  bill,  intro¬ 
duced  by  Clay,  that  was  worse  in  its  provisions  and  oper¬ 
ations  than  “the  Bill  of  Abominations/’  and  it  became  a 
law  in  July.  It  added  fuel  to  the  fire  raging  in  South  Caro¬ 
lina,  where  the  State  Convention  was  called  with  the  view 
of  declaring  the  Tariff  Act  null  and  void  in  South  Carolina. 

When  the  Presidential  election  was  held  Jackson  received 
a  popular  vote  of  687,502;  Clay  530,189;  Jackson  had 
219  electoral  votes  while  Clay  had  only  49;  and  Van  Buren 
became  Vice  President.  Calhoun  resigned  as  Vice  Presi¬ 
dent  and  returned  to  the  Senate. 

When  the  South  Carolina  Convention  met,  the  Virginia 
Legislature  sent  a  commissioner  to  urge  it  to  postpone  ac¬ 
tion  until  Congress  could  consider  the  situation,  and  the 
Convention,  listening  to  the  appeal  of  Virginia,  postponed 
the  crisis  by  declaring  that  the  tariff  legislation  should  be 
of  no  effect  in  that  state  after  February  1,  1833.  A  breath¬ 
ing  spell  was  thus  afforded  to  Congress.  But  Jackson  was 
determined  to  enforce  the  laws,  and  he  issued  a  proclama¬ 
tion  against  nullification  that,  as  a  state  paper,  was  of  the 
highest  merit,  and  he  asked  Congress  to  pass  a  force  bill. 
In  the  Senate  this  Force  Bill  passed  by  a  bare  quorum,  with 
one  vote  in  the  negative,  the  other  Senators  not  voting. 
The  country  having  gone  so  positively  against  Clay  that  he 
realized  that  the  “American  system”  was  doomed,  and  the 
danger  of  civil  war  being  imminent,  and  Clay,  being  always 
apprehensive  that  Jackson,  the  military  hero,  would  assume 
the  reins  of  government  as  dictator,  now  sought  to  compose 
differences,  and  held  conferences  with  Calhoun  and  others  to 
save  the  country  from  war.  A  new  tariff  measure  was 
agreed  on  that  was  satisfactory  to  Calhoun.  It  provided 
for  a  reduction  of  duties  for  nine  years,  the  abandonment  of 
protection,  and  for  revenue  duties  of  twenty  per  cent  ad  va¬ 
lorem.  It  was  a  complete  settlement  of  the  vexed  question 


34  7 

and  allayed  the  antagonism  of  that  period.  Clay  had  received 
applause  on  bringing  about  the  amicable  settlement  of 
differences  in  1821,  and  now  ten  years  later  he  was  hailed  as 
the  great  patriot,  saving  the  Union  by  his  compromise. 
During  the  progress  of  these  measures,  Senator  Mangum 
who  had  at  the  previous  election  been  a  Jackson  elector, 
drew  away  from  his  old  leader,  and  became  a  supporter  of 
Clay,  while  Senator  Bedford  Brown  adhered  to  the  admin¬ 
istration.  In  the  meantime  another  subject  that  was  des¬ 
tined  to  agitate  the  public  mind  was  taking  shape.  The 
charter  of  the  United  States  Bank  at  Philadelphia  was  about 
to  expire  and  Jackson  was  opposed  to  its  extension.  These 
differences  led  to  important  realignments. . 

Caldwell’s  letters  on  schools 

Dr.  Caldwell,  who  had  so  strongly  urged  the  construction 
of  a  central  railroad  without  avail  in  1830,  began  an  agita¬ 
tion  for  the  education  of  the  people  of  the  State. 

In  a  series  of  a  dozen  letters  brought  together  and  pub¬ 
lished  in  1832,  along  with  a  voluminous  appendix,  he  urged 
the  subject  of  education  on  the  attention  of  the  people.  He 
realized  that  there  was  no  possibility  of  establishing  public 
schools  in  the  counties  either  by  taxation  or  by  borrowing 
the  necessary  funds.  The  unfortunate  condition  of  the 
interior  of  the  State,  where  the  people  were  denied  facilities 
for  transporting  their  produce  to  market  so  that  nothing 
except  cotton  could  be  profitably  raised  and  sold  abroad, 
made  it  difficult  for  them  even  to  pay  their  necessary  taxes. 
Therefore,  nothing  was  to  be  gained  by  studying  the  New 
York  system  which  had  been  started,  founded  on  local 
taxation,  or  that  of  Connecticut  where  the  interests  on  the 
fund  derived  from  the  sale  of  Connecticut’s  part  of  Ohio 
sufficed  to  maintain  the  schools.  Here  a  different  system 
must  be  resorted  to,  taxation  being  out  of  the  question.  He 
urged  that  as  the  Literary  Fund  amounted  to  $100,000,  the 
interest  on  that  should  be  used  to  establish  a  central  school 
for  the  preparation  of  teachers.  These  competent  teachers 
being  ready  for  employment,  the  people  would  establish 




The  want  of 









schools  for  them :  for  he  largely  ascribed  the  absence  of 
schools  to  the  want  of  teachers.  Although  some  of  the 
graduates  of  the  University  taught  schools,  yet  the  courses 
at  the  University  were  rather  for  the  education  of  those  en¬ 
gaging  in  the  learned  professions  than  in  the  practical  work 
of  teaching  children.  While  Dr.  Caldwell’s  plan  was  not 
carried  into  execution,  his  letters  contributed  to  keeping 
the  general  subject  of  public  education  before  the  public, 
and  there  were  constant  efforts  made  to  start  the  ball,  but 
without  avail. 

The  Petersburg  Railroad  was  now  under  construction, 
and  as  it  progressed  it  hauled  freight  and  passengers  with 
the  result  of  illustrating  to  the  people  of  Halifax  the  value 
of  this  new  system  of  transportation. 

Similarly,  the  Portsmouth  and  Roanoke  Railroad  was 
being  built,  and  each  of  these  companies  needed  some  legis¬ 
lation.  The  first  desired  a  terminus  at  a  point  on  the  Roan¬ 
oke  where  the  land  belonged  to  J.  S.  Amis  and  the  Legis¬ 
lature  authorized  the  incorporation  of  a  town  there  to  be 
known  as  Blakely  in  honor  of  the  naval  hero ;  and  the 
Portsmouth  road  desired  a  terminus  opposite  Weldon  and 
the  Legislature  assented. 

As  it  was  thought  that  the  Capitol  would  be  rebuilt  at 
Raleigh  and  in  its  construction  stone  would  be  used,  quarried 
on  the  State’s  land  in  the  vicinity,  a  road  was  being  built  to 
haul  the  stone,  and  in  November  a  charter  was  granted  to 
“Joseph  Gales,  William  Polk,  George  W.  Mordecai  and 
others  who  have;  heretofore  subscribed  and  commenced 
the  erection  of  an  experimental  railroad  under  the  name  of 
‘Experimental  Railroad  Company.’  ” 

There  has  b.een  a  well-founded  tradition  that  the  first  con¬ 
ception  of  this  project  was  by  Mrs.  Sarah  Polk,  the  wife 
of  Col.  William  Polk;  she  was  one  of  the  most  urgent  pro¬ 
moters  of  the  undertaking  and  the  Polks  were  the  principal 

The  company  had  been  organized  in  the  summer ;  and 
fortunately  a  competent  engineer  was  at  hand  to  construct 
the  road.  At  the  former  residence  of  Chief  Justice  Taylor 
at  Raleigh,  a  military  school  was  in  progress  under  the  di- 



rection  of  Captain  Daniel  Bingham,  and  he  with  two  of 
his  pupils,  Richard  B.  Haywood  and  another,  had  super¬ 
vision  of  the  work.  The  cost  was  $22,500  a  mile.  The 
construction  was  well  done ;  and  the  road  was  nearly  com¬ 
pleted  when  the  Assembly  met  and  granted  the  charter.  It 
was  finished  January  1,  1833.  “A  handsome  car  was  put 
on  it  for  the  use  of  ladies  and  gentlemen  desiring  to  take 
a  railroad  airing.”  The  motive  power  was  a  good  old 
horse.  People  came  from  the  adjoining  counties  to  ride  on 
it:  but  its  chief  use  was  in  hauling  stone  for  the  Capitol. 
As  an  enterprise  the  road  was  a  success  and  it  made  money 
for  the  stockholders.  Such  was  the  beginning  of  railways  in 
North  Carolina. 

When  the  Assembly  met  in  November,  1832,  the  members 
were  much  divided  both  as  to  state  questions  and  the  Federal 
matters  that  had  agitated  the  people  during  the  year.  Up¬ 
permost  was,  perhaps,  the  dread  of  war,  the  attitude  of 
South  Carolina  threatening  nullification  and  secession,  and 
the  known  determination  of  the  President  to  ignore  such 
action  and  enforce  the  laws,  following  his  proclamation  and 
application  to  Congress  for  a  force  bill. 

Jackson  was  not  imbued  with  the  principles  of  the  Ken¬ 
tucky  Resolutions  of  1798,  of  which  Jefferson  was  the 
author,  but  held  that  the  Union  must  be  maintained  and  the 
laws  enforced.  The  difference  between  him  and  South 
Carolina  was  irreconcilable.  In  the  Assembly  there  were 
some  in  full  sympathy  with  South  Carolina,  while  the 
majority,  although  denouncing  the  tariff  as  even  unconsti¬ 
tutional,  were  intent  that  the  Union  should  be  preserved. 
In  State  matters,  the  new  subject  of  railroads  claimed  at¬ 
tention,  but  of  surpassing  interest  were  the  unsettled  ques¬ 
tions  of  the  rebuilding  of  the  State  House  at  Raleigh,  and 
of  calling  a  convention  to  relieve  the  western  counties  of  the 
injustice  they  suffered  under  the  existing  Constitution. 

To  meet  Judge  Gaston’s  view  that  the  State  capital  could 
not  be  removed  by  legislative'  action,  some  of  those  who 
favored  removal  now  hoped  for  a  convention  to  deal  with 
that  matter. 


1877,  p.  64 









The  western 

No  change  was  made  in  the  presiding  officers :  but  Gov¬ 
ernor  Stokes  who,  having  served  only  two  terms  as  Gov¬ 
ernor,  was  eligible  to  a  reelection,  announced  that  he  had 
accepted  an  appointment  from  the  President  as  commis¬ 
sioner  to  make  treaties  with  the  Indians  at  the  far  West, 
and  would  not  be  a  candidate.  A  new  Governor  was  to  be 
chosen.  Richard  D.  Spaight,  Thomas  G.  Polk  of  Rowan, 
and  John  Branch  were  aspirants.  After  ineffectual  bal¬ 
loting  for  several  days  Judge  Swain  was  proposed  and 
was  elected.  The  rise  of  this  young  Buncombe  man  was 
phenomenal.  His  mother  was  a  sister  of  Joel  Lane  of 
Raleigh,  and  after  four  months  at  the  University,  he  had 
studied  law  in  Raleigh  under  Chief  Justice  Taylor,  and  had 
served  his  native  county  in  the  Assembly  for  five  years, 
ending  in  1829.  During  this  period  he  married  Miss  White 
of  Raleigh,  a  granddaughter  of  Governor  Caswell,  and  be¬ 
came  a  brother-in-law  of  Hon.  D.  L.  Barringer,  Represent- 
active  in  Congress  from  the  Wake  district,  who  had  married  a 
sister  of  Miss  White.  While  still  in  the  Assembly  a  bitter 
contest  had  arisen  between  two  lawyers  of  the  Edenton  dis¬ 
trict  for  the  office  of  solicitor  of  that  district.  To  end  the 
feud,  both  factions,  by  common  consent,  agreed  to  com¬ 
promise  by  taking  this  Buncombe  lawyer.  Swain  served 
as  solicitor  during  one  circuit,  and  then  in  December,  1830, 
he  was  elected  judge  of  the  Superior  court.  He  had  served 
but  two  years  in  that  capacity  when  he  was  chosen  Governor, 
taking  the  office  December  6,  1832,  being  then  not  thirty-two 
years  of  age.  He  had,  however,  given  assurance  not  only 
of  fine  character  but  of  great  industry  and  unusual  mental 
capacity.  Years  earlier  several  hundred  thousand  acres 
of  land  in  the  western  part  of  the  State  had  been  entered 
by  some  citizens  of  Pennsylvania,  who  had  perfected  their 
grants :  but  these  lands  were  within  the  Indian  reservation. 
Later,  after  the  State  bought  these  lands  from  the  Indians, 
native  citizens  also  made  entries  and  perfected  their  grants 
in  the  same  territory.  It  .was  now  considered  that  the 
former  grants  were  void ;  and  in  the  conflict  of  interest,  the 
State  determined  to  defend  the  title  of  its  citizens  under  the 
later  grants.  Judge  Badger  was  employed  by  the  State, 



and  he  associated  the  young  Buncombe  lawyer  with  him  in 
the  case.  To  Swain  was  due  the  preparation  of  the  hundred 
cases  brought  in  ejectment  against  the  actual  residents. 
Swain’s  fee  was  $1,000;  the  cases  were  not  finally  deter¬ 
mined  when  Swain  was  elected  Governor,  and  he  returned  to 
the  State  $500,  one-half  of  his  fee. 

The  cases  were  eventually  won  in  the  Supreme  Court  of 
the  United  States,  and  Judge  Badger  ascribed  the  result  to 
Swain’s  indomitable  industry,  patient  research  and  acumen. 
Such  were  the  characteristics  of  this  unusually  gifted  young 
mountaineer  now  called  to  direct  the  affairs  of  state ;  and 
in  him  the  west  found  a  powerful  colaborer  for  all  of  its  just 
claims  for  State  action. 

A  week  after  the  Assembly  met,  Richmond  Pearson  then 
of  Rowan,  introduced  a  resolution  to  appoint  a  joint  select 
committee,  one  member  of  each  house  from  every  Congres¬ 
sional  district,  to  consider  the  subject  of  a  convention.  The 
House  responded  favorably,  as  also  did  the  Senate.  On 
the  same  day  Mr.  Long  offered  a  bill  making  an  appropria¬ 
tion  for  building  the  Capitol  at  Raleigh.  A  fortnight  passed 
and  the  House  by  a  vote  of  73  to  60  passed  the  Long  bill 
which  reached  the  Senate  on  December  17.  The  next  day 
the  select  committee  on  convention  to  whom  had  been 
referred  a  resolution  relative  to  the  seat  of  government, 
made  a  report  accompanied  by  a  bill  providing  for  a  con¬ 
vention.  The  fight  was  now  on.  Mr.  Collins  moved  that 
the  consideration  of  the  convention  bill  be  indefinitely  post¬ 
poned,  and  was  successful,  the  vote  being  33  to  27.  When 
two  days  later  Long’s  House  bill  to  build  the  Capitol  at 
Raleigh  came  up  in  the  Senate,  Senator  Hoke  moved  that 
each  county  should  collect  as  taxes  $780  and  the  Capitol 
should  be  built  out  of  that  fund  only.  However  that  was  a 
feeble  effort,  having  only  seven  votes  to  sustain  it ;  and  the 
bill  passed  finally  33  to  30.  The  efforf  to  remove  the  Capitol 
had  failed.  The  State  House  was  to  be  rebuilt.  In  the 
meantime  a  motion  in  the  House  on  December  20,  to  take  up 
a  bill  to  establish  the  western  county  of  Yancey  resulted  in 
a  tie,  and  the  Speaker,  L.  D.  Henry,  voting  in  the  affirma¬ 
tive,  the  bill  was  taken  up  and  the  next  day  passed  63  to  60 ; 







The  Capitol 
to  be  rebuilt 


Journal,  197 



Ibid.,  211 



the  west 

The  west 
appeals  to 
the  people 

but  three  days  later  it  failed  in  the  Senate  27  to  33.  On 
the  same  day  the  committee  on  convention  reported  in  the 
Senate  a  bill  for  a  convention,  and  it  was  postponed ;  Mr. 
Pearson  from  the  same  committee  then  reported  in  the 
House  a  bill  for  taking  the  votes  of  the  people  for  or 
against  certain  proposed  amendments  to  the  Constitution : 
but  the  consideration  of  that  bill  was  postponed  until  next 

The  west  defeated  at  every  turn  was  now  desperate,  and 
on  the  eve  of  the  final  day  of  the  session,  Mr.  Park  of 
Anson  offered  a  series  of  strong  resolutions :  “That  the 
location  of  the  seat  of  government  at  some  convenient  and 
proper  place  (such  as  Haywood)  would  be  highly  con¬ 
ducive  to  rearing  a  large  and  flourishing  commercial  town 
so  necessary  for  the  attainment  of  general  prosperity;  that 
the  election  of  the  chief  magistrate  ought  to  be  by  direct 
vote  of  the  people,  and  for  a  longer  period  than  one  year; 
that  a  convention  is  absolutely  necessary;  that  it  be  recom¬ 
mended  to  the  people,  at  next  election,  to  determine  by 
ballot  whether  or  not  a  convention  should  be  called. ”  The 
introduction  of  these  resolutions  was  instantly  met  by  a 
motion  to  table.  The  result  was  a  tie  58  to  58. 

Now  for  a  moment  the  west  was  jubilant,  the  Speaker, 
Louis  D.  Henry,  represented  Fayetteville,  and  Fayetteville 
was  the  friend  of  the  west.  But  Henry  disappointed  all 
reasonable  expectations  and  offended  Fayetteville  by  voting 
to  table.  The  western  members  were  dismayed  by  his 
action ;  but  quickly  they  determined  to  appeal  to  the  people. 
On  the  same  day,  January  4,  they  held  “a  large  and  respecta¬ 
ble.  meeting,  and  adopted  an  address  to  the  people,  urging 
them  to  vote  at  the  next  August  election  on  the  subject  of 
holding  a  convention,”  and  for  the  sheriffs  to  make  due  re¬ 
turn  thereof  to  the  Governor,  for  Governor  Swain  was  in 
entire  accord  and  sympathy  with  the  movement.  With  or 
without  legislative  sanction,  the  people  would  speak. 

While  the  Governor's  mansion  was  officially  known  as  the 
Government  House,  at  this  period  it  seems  to  have  been 
also  called  the  Palace,  for  on  January  1,  1833,  a  committee 
of  Senators  was  raised  “to  examine  the  roof  of  the  Palace.” 



At  this  session  the  North  Carolina  Historical  Society  was 
incorporated,  among  the  members  being  James  Iredell,  Gov¬ 
ernor  Swain,  Alfred  Moore,  Louis  D.  Henry,  Isaac  T. 
Avery,  Joseph  A.  Hill,  William  D.  Moseley  and  Richmond 
Pearson.  Such  was  the  earliest  manifestations  of  Gov¬ 
ernor  Swain’s  interest  in  historical  subjects,  which  later  won 
him  a  particular  distinction  and  added  to  his  great  usefulness. 

The  old  Bank  of  the  State  of  North  Carolina  after  Judge 
Ruffin  went  on  the  Supreme  Court  again  elected  Judge 
Duncan  Cameron  its  president,  and  he  succeeded  in  winding 
it  up  admirably.  At  this  session  there  was  chartered  the 
State  Bank,  the  State  taking  a  million  dollars  of  stock  and 
private  individuals  were  allowed  to  subscribe  another  million. 
Thereafter  the  banking  business  in  the  State  came  to  a 
sound  basis  and  ceased  to  give  public  concern. 

To  rebuild  the  State  House,  William  Boylan,  Duncan 
Cameron,  Treasurer  William  S.  Mhoon,  Judge  Henry  Sea- 
well,  and  R.  M.  Saunders  were  appointed  commissioners. 
They  were  to  employ  an  architect,  and  make  contracts,  and 
the  granite  from  the  State  quarry  was  to  be  used.  An  ap¬ 
propriation  was  made  of  $50,000,  but  at  the  next  session 
the  limit  was  removed  and  the  commissioners  were  empow¬ 
ered  to  draw  such  warrants  as  were  necessary  to  complete 
the  building. 

Internal  Improvement  Convention 

The  era  of  railroads  had  arrived.  Dr.  Caldwell’s  letters 
were  now  understood  and  public  thought  was  directed  to 
this  new  method  of  transportation.  Hope  of  advantages 
to  the  State  was  awakened.  On  July  4,  1833,  there  met  at 
Raleigh  one  hundred  and  twenty  delegates,  representing 
twenty-one  counties,  chiefly  in  the  eastern  and  northern  sec¬ 
tions  of  the  State.  It  was  the  first  concerted  effort  to  se¬ 
cure  railroad  facilities  and  was  known  as  the  Internal  Im¬ 
provement  Convention. 

Governor  Swain,  ever  an  advocate  of  progress,  presided, 
while  Treasurer  Samuel  L.  Patterson  and  Charles  Manly, 
the  clerk  of  the  House,  were  secretaries.  The  personnel  of 

the  body  was  so  remarkable  that  it  was  recorded :  “So  manv 




The  State 




Cape  Fear 





The  State 

distinguished  and  talented  men  are  said  never  before  to  have 
assembled  in  the  State.” 

William  A.  Graham,  then  in  the  prime  of  his  rare  abilities, 
urged  as  the  policy  of  the  State  three  north  and  south  lines 
of  railroad,  conforming  to  the  course  of  trade  that  the 
natural  conditions  had  imposed  on  the  inhabitants  of  the 
several  divisions  of  the  State.  He  was  antagonized  by 
Joseph  Alston  Hill  of  Wilmington,  who  inherited  the  Demos¬ 
thenic  powers  of  his  grandfather,  General  Ashe,  and  pro¬ 
posed  the  policy  advocated  by  Caldwell  of  building  up  the 
State  by  marketing  the  produce  of  the  west  through  the  sea¬ 
ports  of  the  east.  A  State  policy  was  to  be  inaugurated.  It 
was  a  battle  of  giants ;  Hill  won.  The  convention  adopted 
resolutions  to  the  effect  that  the  General  Assembly  ought 
to  raise  by  loans  such  sums  as  will  “afford  substantial  as¬ 
sistance  in  the  prosecution  of  the  public  works ;  that  the 
State  should  subscribe  for  two-fifths  of  the  stock ;  that  no 
work  should  be  encouraged  for  conveying  produce  to  a 
primary  market  out  of  the  State;  and  that  a  corresponding 
committee  of  twenty  be  appointed  in  each  county;  and  that 
a  second  convention  be  held  on  the  fourth  Monday  in  No¬ 
vember.”  Steps  were  at  once  taken  to  give  body  and  sub¬ 
stance  to  its  resolves.  Circulars  were  issued  to  counties 
urging  action.  Propositions  were  formulated  for  the  people 
to  apply  for  charters  for  railroad  companies.  Much  interest 
was  aroused.  The  people  responded. 

The  falling  stars 

“By  far  the  most  splendid  display  of  shooting  meteors  on 
record  was  that  of  November  13,  1833.  It  seems  to  have 
been  visible  over  nearly  the  whole  of  the  northern  portion 
of  the  American  continent,  or,  more  exactly,  from  the  Ca¬ 
nadian  lakes  nearly  to  the  equator.  Over  this  immense 
area  a  sight  of  the  most  imposing  grandeur  seems  to  have 
been  witnessed.  The  phenomenon  commenced  at  about 
midnight,  and  was  at  its  height  at  about  5  a.m.  Several  of 
the  meteors  were  of  peculiar  form  and  considerable  mag¬ 
nitude.  One  was  especially  remarked  from  its  remaining 
for  some  time  in  the  zenith  over  the  Falls  of  Niagara, 



emitting  radiant  streams  of  light.  In  many  parts  of  the 
country  the  population  were  terror-stricken  by  the  beauty 
and  magnificence  of  the  spectacle  before  them.” 

The  Raleigh  Register  said  editorially  on  November  19 : 
“On  Wednesday  morning  our  attention  was  called  to  the 
most  sublime  meteoric  display  we  have  ever  witnessed.  We 
observed  it  first  about  an  hour  before  day,  an  unusual  bril¬ 
liancy  lighting  the  room.  From  the  zenith  to  the  horizon 
on  every  side,  space  was  filled  with  what  seemed  falling 
stars,  some  gliding  gently  downward,  some  rushing  madly 
from  their  sphere,  all  with  a  grandeur  which  no  language 
can  describe.  .  .  .  The  occasion  was  to  many,  of  course, 

the  cause  of  great  alarm;  to  some  from  ignorance;  to  others 
from  a  constitutional  propensity  to  superstition.  It  is  said 
that  prayers  were  offered  by  lips  that  never  prayed  before. 
Some  said  the  light  was  so  bright  that  they  could  read  by 
it.  Travelers,  alone  on  the  roads,  were  particularly  im¬ 
pressed  with  the  awful  spectacle  that  seemed  to  be  the 
opening  scene  in  the  drama  of  the  destruction  of  the  world.” 
As  the  phenomenon  was  so  extensive  and  so  long  continued, 
its  effect  on  the  people  was  memorable. 

A  planter  of  South  Carolina  thus  narrates  the  effect  of 
the  phenomenon  on  the  minds  of  the  ignorant  blacks :  “I 
was  suddenly  awakened  by  the  most  distressing  cries  that 
ever  fell  on  my  ears.  Shrieks  of  horror  and  cries  for 
mercy  I  could  hear  from  most  of  the  negroes  of  the  three 
plantations,  amounting  in  all  to  about  600  or  800.  While 
earnestly  listening  for  the  cause  I  heard  a  faint  voice  near 
the  door,  calling  my  name.  I  arose,  and,  taking  my  sword, 
stood  at  the  door.  At  this  moment  I  heard  the  same  voice 
still  beseeching  me  to  rise,  and  saying,  ‘O  my  God,  the 
world  is  on  fire !’  I  then  opened  the  door,  and  it  is  difficult 
to  say  which  excited  me  the  most,  the  awfulness  of  the 
scene,  or  the  distressed  cries  of  the  negroes.  Upwards  of 
100  lay  prostrate  on  the  ground,  some  speechless,  and  some 
with  the  bitterest  cries,  but  with  their  hands  raised,  implor¬ 
ing  God  to  save  the  world  and  them.  The  scene  was  truly 
awful ;  for  never  did  rain  fall  much  thicker  than  the  meteors 






N  ovember, 



fell  towards  the  earth;  east,  west,  north  and  south,  it  was 
the  same.” 

When  the  Assembly  met  William  D.  Moseley  of  Lenoir 
and  William  J.  Alexander  of  Mecklenburg  were  chosen 
speakers.  There  was  naturally  interest  felt  in  what  Gov¬ 
ernor  Swain  in  the  freshness  of  young  manhood  was  going 
to  say  about  public  matters.  Nearly  every  other  state  was 
passing  resolutions  relating  to  Federal  matters  and  the 
Governor  transmitted  them  to  the  Assembly,  but  he  con¬ 
fined  himself  exclusively  to  State  concerns.  While  our 
predecessors,  said  he,  “were  anxiously  disposed  to  advance 
the  improvement  of  the  State  by  providing  facilities  for 
trade,  increasing  our  agricultural  productions,  diffusing  the 
advantages  of  education  and  adapting  our  laws  to  the  im¬ 
proved  condition  of  society,  little  had  been  accomplished 
compared  with  what  the  excited  hopes  and  expectations  de¬ 
manded.  The  apathy  has.  been  most  strikingly  exhibited  by 
the  fact  that  the  expenses  of  the  General  Assembly  have  ex¬ 
ceeded  the  aggregate  of  all  other  expenditures.”  He  referred 
to  the  excitement  pervading  every  section  of  the  State  on  in¬ 
ternal  improvements ;  and  the  demand  for  contributions 
from  the  public  treasury.  He  urged  that  the  efforts  to 
improve  transportation  had  not  been  without  its  value. 
“When  it  is  recollected  that  in  1818  we  were  inexperienced, 
that  several  works  were  begun  simultaneously,  that  the  im¬ 
provements  began  at  the  sources  of  the  rivers  instead  of 
at  their  mouths,  and  other  mistakes,  the  result  was  not 
discouraging.  The  introduction  of  the  railroad  system  is 
a  new  era.  My  own  opinion  is  that  the  great  channels  of 
intercommunication  demand  the  exclusive  attention  and 
patronage  of  the  government,  local  roads  can  be  left  to 
those  interested,  aided  by  a  uniform  State  subscription  to 
each  project.”  He  urged  State  action  for  progress  in  all 
lines ;  and  particularly  he  asked  attention  to  the  system  of 
taxation.  “No  income  tax,  only  taxes  on  land  and  the  poll, 
and  these  evaded.”  He  wanted  a  new  leaf  turned  over  in 
every  line. 

And  indeed  it  was  time,  for  while  under  the  act  of  1819, 
which  was  still  in  operation,  the  owner  was  to  list  his  land 


35  7 

at  its  value  but  at  not  less  than  the  value  affixed  by  the  as¬ 
sessors  under  the  act  of  Congress  in  1815,  yet  the  Treas¬ 
urer’s  report  showed  that  although  the  valuation  ought  to 
have  been  at  least  56  millions,  in  1833  it  was  only  43  mil¬ 
lions,  13  millions  less  than  in  1815.  The  average  value  had 
fallen  from  $2.69  to  $2.27.  In  every  county,  except  one  or 
two,  the  value  had  decreased.  In  Edgecombe,  Jones,  Pitt, 
Bertie  and  Craven,  its  value  was  only  one-fourth  of  what 
it  was  in  1815.  The  picture  presented  is  fearful  to  con¬ 
template.  Indeed  the  land  valuation  had  been  gradually 
diminishing  ever  since  1820.  For  State  purposes  the  land 
tax  was  six  cents,  and  the  average  tax  for  county  purposes 
was  26  cents,  and  the  poll  60  cents. 

A  few  days  later  he  transmitted  the  result  of  the  voting 
in  the  counties  that  voted  on  the  question  of  a  convention, 
“showing  that  the  people  of  the  western  counties  had  the 
matter  much  at  heart ;  and  he  cherished  the  hope  that  the 
Assembly  would  act  favorably  on  the  proposition.”  In 
thirty  counties  the  people  had  voted,  casting  29,505  votes 
for  a  convention,  none,  to  the  contrary.  Quickly  after  the 
members  were  in  their  seats,  Irving  of  Rutherford  moved 
in  the  House  for  a  joint  select  committee  to  consider 
amendments  to  the  Constitution.  Both  Houses  agreed  to  it.- 
Then  on  December  16,  Irvine  from  that  committee  reported 
a  bill  to  submit  certain  amendments  to  the  people :  but  when 
an  effort  was  made  to  take  the  bill  up,  the  House  refused 
by  79  to  46. 

At  every  session  since  Yancey’s  death  an  effort  had  been 
made  to  establish  a  new  county  at  the  west  to  be  named 
Yancey,  but  it  had  ever  failed.  However,  on  December  9, 
1833,  the  bill  passed  the  Senate  by  33  to  28;  among  the  33 
being  Otway  Burns.  Coming  up  in  the  House  five  days 
later,  Charles  W.  Nixon,  member  from  Chowan,  moved  to 
amend  it  by  adding  an  additional  section  establishing  the 
county  of  Roanoke,  beginning  at  the  mouth  of  Alligator 
Creek  running  south  twenty-five  miles,  then  southeast  to  the 
ocean,  and  north  along  the  seaboard  to  Kill-Devil  Hill, 
then  west  to  Alligator  River ;  which,  however,  received  only 
49  votes.  Then  Mr.  Potts  of  Halifax  moved  to  give  that 


At  the  east 



1883,  p.  149 

Ibid.,  197 












No  State 

territory  proposed  to  be  embraced  in  Yancey  County  more 
convenient  administration  of  justice  but  without  representa¬ 
tion:  this  also  without  avail.  The  bill  then  passed  67  to  63. 
Thus  at  length  in  the  closing  days  of  1833,  the  west  finally 
obtained  the  desired  county  and  the  county  seat  was  named 

While  the  Assembly  was  in  session,  the  adjourned  Inter¬ 
nal  Improvement  Convention  met  in  the  Government  House. 
It  prepared  a  memorial  to  the  Legislature  embodying  its 
views  and  recommendations:  and  the  Assembly  in  joint 
session  received  the  convention,  and  appointed  a  special 
committee  to  consider  the  memorial.  But  as  yet  the  Legis¬ 
lature  was  not  ready  to  lay  taxes,  or  to  borrow  money  for 
such  enterprises ;  and  many  charters  were  granted,  without 
carrying  State  aid.  Some  of  the  proposed  roads  were  of 
general  interest,  but  others  were  merely  of  local  advantage ; 
such  as  the  Lumber  River  and  Cape  Fear  Railroad,  the 
Whiteville,  Waccamaw  and  Cape  Fear  Canal  and  Railroad 
Company,  the  Campbellton  and  Fayetteville,  the  Halifax 
and  Weldon.  But  there  were  charters  for  the  Greenville 
and  Roanoke  Railroad  Company ;  the  Roanoke  and  Raleigh 
to  connect  with  either  Weldon  or  Halifax ;  the  Wilmington 
and  Raleigh ;  the  North  Carolina  Center  and  Seaport  Rail¬ 
road  to  connect  Raleigh  with  Beaufort  Harbor;  the  Roan¬ 
oke  and  Yadkin  Valley  Railroad  to  run  from  Blakely  or 
Weldon  to  some  point  on  the  Yadkin,  and  the  Cape  Fear, 
Yadkin  and  Pee  Dee,  which  was  one  of  the  enterprises  of 
most  interest.  This  road  was  to  go  from  Fayetteville  to 
the  narrows  of  the  Yadkin,  and  then  along  the  lower 
courses  of  the  river  to  the  mouth  of  Rocky  River,  and  then 
to  penetrate  Mecklenburg  and  Lincoln  counties ;  while  an  ¬ 
other  branch  was  to  go  to  Asheboro  and  then  on  westward. 

The  system  that  would  have  been  established  had  these 
roads  been  built  would  have  been  of  great  benefit  to  the 
State  ;  but  they  were  to  have  been  constructed  by  private  sub¬ 
scription  alone,  except  the  State  was  willing  to  bear  the 
expense  of  the  survey  of  some.  To  none  did  the  Legis¬ 
lature  ofifer  any  aid,  but  it  authorized  a  lottery  to  raise 



$50,000  to  be  vested  in  stock  in  the  Cape  Fear  and  Yadkin 
and  Pee  Dee  Railroad. 

The  Attorney-General,  Romulus  M.  Saunders,  having 
accepted  an  appointment  from  the  President  as  Commis¬ 
sioner  under  the  act  of  Congress  for  carrying  into  execution 
the  convention  between  France  and  the  United  States,  some 
thought  such  an  employment  vacated  his  office  as  Attorney- 
General,  and  a  resolution  to  that  effect  was  adopted  by  the 
House ;  whereupon  Saunders  resigned  as  Attorney-General, 
and  John  R.  J.  Daniel  of  Halifax  replaced  him. 

Originally,  on  the  destruction  of  the  Capitol,  the  Presbyte¬ 
rian  congregation  had  offered  its  church  building  and  ses¬ 
sion  room  for  the  use  of  the  Legislature,  but  the  Govern¬ 
ment  House  having  been  already  prepared  for  the  Legis¬ 
lature  by  Governor  Stokes  the  offer  was  not  accepted;  but 
now  in  December,  1833,  a  committee  was  raised  to  consider 
the  question. 


Despite  the  hostility  to  banks,  when  the  time  came  to 
wind  up  the  existing  banks,  they  were  all  either  rechartered 
or  replaced  by  other  similar  institutions.  At  the  session  of 
1833  acts  were  passed  to  recharter  the  Bank  of  Cape  Fear, 
to  establish  the  Merchants  Bank  at  New  Bern,  and  the  Al¬ 
bemarle  Bank  at  Edenton ;  and  to  establish  “The  Bank  of  the 
State  of  North  Carolina.”  The  people  were  to  have  all  the 
currency  they  needed. 


There  were  more  than  a  dozen  academies  incorporated  at 
this  session:  among  them,  the  New  Garden  School;  the 
Greensboro  Academy  and  Manual  Labor  School ;  the  liter¬ 
ary  and  manual  labor  institution  in  the  county  of  Wake, 
known  as  “The  Wake  Forest  Institute.”  Manual  labor 
schools  were  much  in  vogue  in  other  states,  and  there  were 
several  in  North  Carolina. 

Moses  Griffin  of  New  Bern  having  devised  property  to 
Edward  Graham  and  William  Gaston  and  others  to  estab- 




ation  for 

Journal,  114 

Journal,  253 

lish  a  free  school  at  New  Bern,  the  devisees  were  declared 
trustees  and  were  incorporated  as  such  to  establish  the 
“Griffin  Free  School.” 

Levi,  Silliman  Ives,  Jarvis  Baxton,  Duncan  Cameron, 
Thomas  Ruffin,  George  E.  Badger  and  others  were  incor¬ 
porated  as  trustees  of  “The  Episcopal  School  of  North 
Carolina,”  and  a  boys’  school  known  as  “St.  Mary’s”  was 
started  by  them  in  the  suburbs  of  Raleigh. 

The  act  making  an  appropriation  of  $50,000  for  rebuild¬ 
ing  the  Capitol  directed  that  “the  general  plan  shall  be  the 
same  as  the  former  building,  and  the  lowrer  story  at  least 
shall  be  of  stone.”  When  the  commissioners  began  the 
work,  Mrs.  Polk’s  experimental  railway  was  ready  for  use ; 
and  the  commissioners  made  a  stone  foundation  that  was  so 
substantial  and  costly  that  at  the  next  session  an  additional 
$75,000  was  allowed  for  the  construction. 

The  west  again  disappointed 

On  January  10,  1834,  there  was  introduced  in  the  Senate 
a  bill  from  the  select  committee  to  provide  for  ascertaining 
the  sense  of  the  people  relative  to  a  convention.  It  passed 
the  first  reading  32  to  29. 

An  amendment  was  offered  to  strike  out  the  clause  that 
provided  for  taking  the  sense  of  the  people  on  amending 
the  32d  section  of  the  Constitution,  prescribing  qualifica¬ 
tions  for  office.  The  proposed  amendment  was  rejected. 
Mr.  Mendenhall  moved  to  amend  by  striking  out  the  clause 
that  future  General  Assemblies  shall  not  abolish  slavery. 
That  was  lost  16  to  44.  The  bill  having  passed  the  Senate 
31  to  30,  was  indefinitely  postponed  in  the  House  by  64  to 
59.  It  proposed  to  submit  certain  amendments  of  the  Con¬ 
stitution  to  the  people.  Its  failure  wras  a  great  blow  to 
the  western  members  who  were  defeated  at  all  points,  save 
alone  in  the  formation  of  Yancey  County. 

Judge  Gaston 

In  August,  1833,  Chief  Justice  Leonard  Henderson  hav¬ 
ing  died,  the  State  mourned  his  loss  as  one  of  the  strongest 

The  State  Capitol.  Begun  in  1833;  completed  in  1840 



and  purest  jurists  that  had  adorned  the  bench;  to  succeed 
him  as  Chief  Justice,  the  members  of  the  court  chose  Judge 
Ruffin;  and  to  fill  the  vacancy  on  the  bench  all  eyes  were 
turned  to  William  Gaston,*  who  while  he  felt  no  scruples 
because  lie  was  a  Catholic,  conferred  with  others  before  he 
concluded  to  allow  his  name  to  be  used. 

On  November  28,  he  was  elected  by  the  Assembly  on  the 
first  ballot  without  serious  opposition.  He  perhaps  de¬ 
serves  to  rank  as  the  first  among  the  distinguished  men  born 
in  the  State.  His  manner,  at  that  period,  was  grave,  cour¬ 
teous  and  unostentatious.  He  was  affable  with  dignity  and 
companionable  without  familiarity. 

Among  the  earlier  opinions  he  filed  was  that  for  the  court 
in  the  case  of  State  v.  Will,  a  slave,  who  was  convicted  of 
murder  for  slaying  his  overseer.  A  special  verdict  had  been 
found  which  showed  great  provocation  and  cruelty  on  the 
part  of  the  overseer.  Judge  Gaston  said:  “In  the  absence 
then  of  all  precedent  directly  in  point,  or  strikingly  anal¬ 
ogous,  the  question  recurs,  if  the  passion  of  the  slave  be 
excited  into  unlawful  violence  by  the  inhumanity  of  the 
master  or  temporary  owner  or  one  clothed  with  the  owner’s 
authority,  is  it  a  conclusion  of  law  that  such  passion  must 
spring  from  diabolical  malice?  Unless  I  see  my  way  clear 
as  a  sunbeam,  I  cannot  believe  that  this  is  the  law  of  a  civ-  Reports’  121 
ilized  people  and  of  a  Christian  land.  But  the  appeal  here 
is  to  the  common  law  which  declares  passion,  not  transcend¬ 
ing  all  reasonable  limits,  to  be  distinct  from  malice.  The 
prisoner  is  a  human  being,  degraded,  indeed,  by  slavery, 
but  yet  having  ‘organs,  senses,  affections,  passions  like  our 
own.’  ” 

In  the  case  of  State  v.  Hoover  the  court  sustained  a  ver¬ 
dict  of  murder  against  a  master  for  killing  a  slave.  In 
State  v.  Manuel  Gaston  said:  “Slaves  manumitted  become 

*In  1829  Ruffin  had  been  appointed  to  the  court,  and  in  1832,  J.  J.  Daniel. 

In  August  1833,  Chief  Justice  Henderson  died  and  Gaston  was,  in  Novem¬ 
ber,  elected  to  the  vacant  place  in  the  court.  The  practice  was  for  the 
Justices  to  select  their  Chief  Justice;  so  a  question  arose  who  should  be  the 
Chief  Justice.  When  the  court  met  in  December,  Ruffin  insisted  that 
Gaston  should  be,  and  Gaston  insisted  that  Ruffin  should  be;  and  Daniel 
declared  he  would  not  choose  between  them.  So  Ruffin  and  Gaston  tossed 
up  a  coin,  and  Gaston  had  his  way:  Ruffin  became  Chief  Justice.  So  Judge 
Gaston  wrote  to  Judge  Story  of  Massachusetts. 



freemen  and,  therefore,  if  born  within  North  Carolina  are 
citizens  of  North  Carolina,  and  all  free  persons  born  within 
20  n.  c.  the  State  are  born  citizens  of  the  State."  These  and  simj- 

Reports,  44  jar  0pini0ns  of  the  Supreme  Court  at  once  attest  the  sense 
of  justice  that  animated  its  members,  and  are  evidence  of  the 
humane  sentiments  that  pervaded  the  people  of  the  State. 
That  it  was  not  until  1834  that  the  question  involved  in 
Will’s  case  was  presented  to  the  court,  illustrates  the  general 
management  of  the  slaves,  while  the  conviction  of  a  master 
for  murder  in  killing  his  slave  is  equally  suggestive.  While 
these  decisions  of  the  court  were  not  questioned,  being  in 
accord  with  the  enlightened  sentiments  of  the  people,  yet  it 
was  fortunate  that  it  fell  to  Judge  Gaston’s  lot  to  elucidate 
the  principles  on  which  they  rested.  Instead  of  his  losing 
popularity,  he  became  more  popular  than  ever,  and  was 
later  asked  to  represent  the  State  in  the  United  States  Sen¬ 
ate,  but  he  declined  to  allow  his  name  to  be  brought  for¬ 
ward,  saying  that  he  preferred  to  continue  in  a  judicial 
career.  ■ '  i 


The  Convention 

Jackson  forbids  deposits  in  Bank  of  United  States. — Panic  en¬ 
sues. — The  Senate  censures  the  President. — Benton  moves  to  ex¬ 
punge. — The  people  divide. — Mangum  leaves  Jackson. — Gales 
turns  Whig;  and  retires. — Succeeded  by  Weston  Gales. — Philo 
White  publishes  the  Standard. — iStwain  urges  revision  of  Consti¬ 
tution,  a  division  by  Congress  of  public  lands,  and  internal  im¬ 
provement  and  schools,  and  to  arrest  emigration. — First  move¬ 
ment  for  a  railroad. — Whitfield  to  have  steamboats  on  Neuse. — 
The  Legislature  instructs  Senators  to  expunge. — A  limited  con¬ 
vention  proposed  for  the  people  to  call. — The  west  prevails. — 
The  sectional  vote. — The  delegates. — Convention  sits  in  the  Pres¬ 
byterian  Church. — Borough  representation  abolished. — Suffrage 
confined  to  whites. — Representation  in  the  Assembly. — The  de¬ 
bate. — The  cause  of  emigration. — Gaston’s  speech. — The  final  out¬ 
come. — The  east  loses  35  members. — Term  of  office  fixed  at  two 
years. — The  religious  test. — Speeches  of  Gaston  and  Toomer. — 
The  election  of  Governor. — Convention  adjourns. — The-  sectional 
vote  on  ratification. — Death  of  Polk,  Ashe,  Caldwell. — Swain 
president  of  University. — Taney,  Chief  Justice. — Spaight,  Gov¬ 
ernor. — Governor  Swain’s  final  message. — The  amendments 
adopted. — Election  of  Governor  provided  for. — Railroad  charters. 
— Steamboats  for  Pamlico  River. — Gold  mining  companies. — The 
frost  year. 

At  Washington 

President  Jackson  thought  that  the  Bank  of  the  United 
States  had  sought  to  prevent  his  election,  and  that  it  was 
using  its  power  in  making  loans  to  secure  an  extension  of 
its  charter.  It  had  twenty-five  branch  banks  throughout  the 
states,  and  could  exert  a  potent  influence.  Jackson  took 
strong  ground  against  the  bank.  In  May,  1833,  he  aP" 
pointed  R.  B.  Taney  to  be  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  the 
only  officer  who,  under  the  law  of  Congress,  could  divert 
public  moneys  when  collected  from  being  deposited  in  the 
vaults  of  that  bank.  In  September,  Taney  made  an  order 
that  no  more  collections  should  be  deposited  in  that  bank. 
Immediately,  the  bank  began  to  call  in  its  loans,  thus  creat¬ 
ing  a  demand  for  currency,  and  this  soon  led  to  a  panic. 

Deposits  in 
Bank  of 
U.  S.  for¬ 




The  Senate 






The  friends  of  the  bank  attributed  the  situation  to  the 

At  the  election  a  majority  of  the  Representatives  chosen 
were  supporters  of  Jackson,  but  the  Senate  was  of  a  differ¬ 
ent  complexion.  There  the  bank  had  the  most  friends.  On 
March  28,  1834,  after  much  discussion  and  agitation,  the 
Senate  adopted  a  resolution  censuring  the  President  for  his 
action.  It  was  a  novel  performance.  Immediately,  Sena¬ 
tor  Benton  offered  a  motion  to  expunge  that  resolution  from 
the  record  of  Senate  proceedings;  but  the  majority  of  the 
Senate  were  of  a  different  mind.  The  matter  remained 
open.  The  country  took  up  the  controversy,  which  entered 
into  politics.  The  friends  of  Jackson  demanded  that  the 
Senate  should  reverse  itself.  Senator  Brown  had  stood  by 
the  President,  but  Mangum  sustained  the  vote  of  censure. 
Elected  as  a  supporter  of  Jackson,  Mangum  cast  his  for¬ 
tunes  with  the  opposition,  now  beginning  to  be  known  as 

When-  the  Assembly  met,  the  same  officers  were  reelected. 
One  of  the  first  matters  of  interest  was  the  election  of  a 
Senator  to  succeed  Bedford  Brown.  On  the  proposition  to 
go  into  the  election,  much  opposition  was  manifested.  In 
the  House  while  73  favored  it,  54  were  opposed;  and  so  in 
the  Senate  the  vote  stood  33  to  28.  Then  filibustering  set 
in,  but  the  majority  soon  carried  their  point  and  on  No¬ 
vember  20,  Brown  was  reelected.  The  Jackson  supporters 
were  dominant. 

When  the  Governor  was  to  be  chosen,  W.  D.  Moseley,  the 
Speaker  of  the  Senate,  was  brought  forward  against  Gov¬ 
ernor  Swain  and  at  first  there  was  no  choice,  but  the  next 
day,  Swain  was  continued  in  office  as  Governor. 

Joseph  Gales,  who  had  been  a  leading  Democrat  for  so 
many  years,  never  was  an  adherent  of  Jackson,  and  now 
went  with  Mangum  to  the  Whig  opposition.  However, 
he  soon  left  the  sanctum,  his  son,  Weston  R.  Gales,  taking 
his  place  as  editor  of  the  Register.  But  his  influence  con¬ 
tinued,  for  he  had  years  before  purchased  an  interest  in  the 
National  Intelligencer  at  Washington,  conducted  by  his 
son,  Joseph,  and  his  son-in-law,  W.  W.  Seaton,  which  was 



considered  the  most  important  of  all  the  newspapers  of  the 
country.  Mr.  Gales,  upon  his  retirement,  resided  in 

At  this  session,  Philo  White,  a  man  of  culture  and  at¬ 
tainments,  who  had  for  some  years  been  a  Democratic 
editor  and  was  publishing  the  Standard  at  Raleigh,  was 
elected  public  printer. 

Swain’s  recommendations 

In  his  message  Governor  Swain  said  that  the  matter  of 
first  importance  was  to  amend  the  State  Constitution.  It 
was  first  introduced  in  1787  and  for  half  a  century  has  con¬ 
tinued  to  command  public  attention.  He  urged  its  revision. 
He  advocated  that  the  public  domain  should  be  divided  out 
among  the  states  by  Congress,  thus  giving  North  Carolina 
a  fund  for  the  prosecution  of  internal  improvements  and  for 
schools.  He  again  adverted  to  the  subject  of  emigration, 
saying:  “The  continually  increasing  current  of  emigration, 
which  is  depriving  us  of  many  of  our  most  intelligent  and 
enterprising  citizens  and  a  large  portion  of  our  wealth, 
particularly  in  the  section  of  the  State  regarded  as  the  most 
populous,  imparts  to  this  subject  a  powerful  interest;  and 
he  urged  action  to  overcome  the  disadvantages  that  beset 
the  prosperity  of  the  State.  The  Legislature  having  au¬ 
thorized  the  appointment  of  commissioners  to  revise  the 
statutes,  he  had  appointed  William  H.  Battle,  Gavin  Hogg 
and  James  Iredell.  In  the  Senate  there  was  some  response 
to  the  Governor’s  recommendation  for  internal  improve¬ 
ments  and  the  first  movement  towards  State  aid  for  a  rail¬ 
road  was  made  on  December  17,  1834.  On  motion  of  Mr. 
Montgomery  of  Orange,  the  committee  on  Internal  Im¬ 
provements  was  directed  to  inquire  into  the  expediency  of 
building  a  railroad  from  the  seaboard  to  Raleigh  and  thence 
to  the  Yadkin,  the  State  to  take  two-fifths  of  the  stock,  but 
the  Assembly  was  not  ready  for  such  expenditures. 

To  promote  water  transportation,  Needham  Whitfield  was 
vested  with  the  exclusive  right,  for  fifteen  years,  to  navi¬ 
gate  with  steamboats  the  Neuse  from  New  Bern  up  as  far 










as  the  boats  could  ascend.  At  that  session,  the  Halifax  and 
Weldon  road  not  having  been  then  begun,  three  more  years 
were  allowed  for  its  construction. 

Governor  Swain  had  ignored  Federal  matters,  but  the 
Jackson  men  were  not  so  complacent.  On  November  28, 
Mr.  Potts  of  Edgecombe  introduced  a  resolution  declar¬ 
ing  the  right  of  the  Assembly  to  instruct  Senators  and  in¬ 
structing  Senator  Mangum  to  vote  to  expunge  from  the 
record  of  the  Senate  the  resolution  censuring  President 
Jackson  which  Mangum  had  voted  for.  For  a  week  the 
resolution  was  not  considered,  and  then  for  a  week  it  was 
daily  discussed,  the  opposition  filibustering  against  it ;  but 
eventually  on  December  11,  it  passed  the  House  by  69  to  57. 
Sent  to  the  Senate,  there  was  a  protracted  filibuster  against 
the  resolution.  The  Assembly  had  agreed  to  adjourn 
over  on  Christmas  Day,  but  at  fifteen  minutes  after  12:30 
a.m.,  December  25,  the  hundredth  motion  to  adjourn  was 
voted  down,  and  the  Senate  continued  in  session.  Then 
Senator  Owen  Holmes  of  New  Hanover,  a  leader  favoring 
the  resolution,  allowed  an  adjournment.  Finally  two  days 
later,  the  Senate  passed  the  resolution  by  33  to  28. 

The  Convention  called 

Late  in  the  session,  December  27,  when  the  members 
were  thinking  of  final  adjournment,  Kittrell  of  Anson,  to 
whose  committee  had  been  referred  a  bill  for  a  convention, 
reported  a  substitute.  The  substitute  was  agreed  to  68  to 
61.  Then  there  were  various  amendments.  As  there  was 
no  provision  in  the  Constitution  for  amending  that  instru¬ 
ment  or  for  calling  a  convention,  it  was  considered  that 
only  the  people  themselves  could  take  legal  action,  so  the 
question  whether  there  should  be  a  convention  or  not  was 
first  to  be  submitted  to  a  popular  vote.  Then  the  character 
of  the  convention  was  considered,  whether  it  was  to  be 
limited  to  amending  certain  specific  articles,  or  could  abro¬ 
gate  the  existing  Constitution  in  whole.  The  bill  was  so 
cast  as  to  confine  the  changes  to  particular  subjects  and 
articles.  There  was  much  diversity  of  opinion ;  but  eventu¬ 
ally  at  a  meeting  of  leaders  in  their  rooms,  the  form  and 



scope  of  the  bill  was  so  adjusted  that  it  would  receive 
support  from  some  of  the  eastern  members.  On  December 
31,  it  passed  the  House  by  66  to  62.  In  the  Senate,  it  was 
amended,  and  passed  January  3  by  31  to  30. 

On  January  5,  the  House  concurred  in  the  Senate  amend¬ 
ments,  and  at  last  the  long  waiting  of  the  west  was  over. 
For  fifty  years  there  had  been  a  desire  and  purpose  to  amend 
the  Constitution,  often  strongly  manifested,  and  now  the 
victory  was  won,  the  way  was  clear. 

The  Convention 

The  act  submitting  the  question  of  a  convention  to  the 
people  provided  the  machinery  for  taking  the  sense  of  the 
white  voters  on  that  question.  The  election  was  to  be  held 
at  the  usual  voting  precincts  on  the  1st  and  2d  days  of 
April ;  the  sheriffs  were  to  make  returns  to  the  Governor, 
“who,  if  a  majority  of  the  votes  favor  a  convention,  shall 
issue  a  writ  for  holding  an  election  for  delegates.  Every 
county  to  elect  two  delegates,  and  no  more ;  delegates  to 
convene  in  Raleigh  on  the  first  Thursday  of  June;  the 
delegates  to  take  an  oath  to  observe  the  limitations  speci¬ 
fied  in  the  act.” 

At  last  the  west  had  accomplished  its  purpose.  The  first 
step  had  been  taken  towards  reforming  the  Constitution. 
Under  existing  conditions  the  eastern  counties  with  a 
minority  of  the  population  had  a  preponderance  in  the  As¬ 
sembly,  the  State  being  a  sort  of  a  confederation  of  coun¬ 
ties,  each  with  equal  representation :  and  the  system  was  a 
representative  republic,  all  the  chief  offices  being  elected 
by  the  Assembly.  Now  it  was  proposed  to  give  more  voice 
to  the  popular  will  and  to  base  representation  on  population. 

The  vote  cast  was  49,244,  of  which  27,550  were  for  the 
convention  and  21,695  were  against  it.  And,  as  illustrating 
how  closely  political  action  is  allied  with  local  interest,  the 
east  was  so  solidly  against  the  measure  and  the  west  so 
solidly  for  it  that  in  some  of  the  eastern  counties  only  four 
or  five  voted  for  it,  and  in  some  of  the  western  counties 
only  one  or  two  votes  were  given  against  it.  By  the  census 
of  1830,  there  was  in  the  State  97,633  white  males  twenty 









The  organ¬ 

years  of  age  and  upwards ;  and  this  vote  also  indicates  that 
on  grave  constitutional  questions  popular  interest  is  so  lack¬ 
ing  that  one-half  of  the  voters  took  no  part  in  the  elections. 
Yet  that  was  the  largest  vote  ever  cast  in  the  State  except  in 
the  hotly  contested  presidential  election  of  1828,  when  the 
aggregate  vote  was  51,776. 

When  the  election  for  delegates  was  held  many  of  the 
best  men  in  the  State  were  chosen.  Among  them  were  Nat 
Macon  and  Weldon  N.  Edwards,  sent  by  Warren,  William 
Gaston  and  Richard  D.  Spaight  from  Craven;  David  Out¬ 
law  from  Bertie,  Governor  John  Owen,  Bladen ;  Dr.  Fred¬ 
erick  J.  Hill,  Brunswick;  Judge  Toomer,  Cumberland; 
Louis  D.  Wilson,  Edgecombe;  Jesse  Spaight,  Greene; 
Governor  John  Branch,  Halifax;  Kenneth  Rayner,  Hert¬ 
ford  ;  Asa  Biggs,  Martin ;  Alfred  Dockery,  Richmond ; 
William  B.  Meares,  Sampson;  Joseph  J.  Daniel,  Halifax; 
Riddick  Gatling,  Gates ;  and  Owen  Holmes  of  New  Hano¬ 
ver,  Governor  Swain,  Buncombe ;  M.  Barringer,  Cabar¬ 
rus  ;  Calvin  Graves,  Caswell ;  Hugh  McQueen,  Chatham, 
John  M.  Morehead,  Guilford ;  Bartlett  Shipp,  Lincoln ;  Ed¬ 
ward  T.  Broadnax,  Rockingham,  Charles  Fisher,  Rowan ; 
Jos.  McD.  Carson,  Rutherford;  Meshack  Franklin,  Surry; 
Henry  Seawell,  Wake,  Edmund  Jones  and  James  Well¬ 
born  from  Wilkes. 

The  delegates  assembled  on  June  4  in  a  room  in  the  Gov¬ 
ernor’s  mansion,  but  before  the  day  was  over  a  committee 
of  which  Governor  Swain  was  chairman,  was  appointed  to 
find  a  more  convenient  place  of  meeting. 

The  next  day  the  Governor  reported  that  the  officers  of 
the  Methodist  and  Presbyterian  churches  had  both  tendered 
the  use  of  their  buildings.  It  was  resolved  to  accept  the 
offer  of  the  Presbyterians ;  and  the  next  morning  the  con¬ 
vention  met  in  the  Presbyterian  Church.  The  members 
having  been  sworn  in,  the  venerable  Nathaniel  Macon  was 
unanimously  chosen  to  preside,  and  Edmund  B.  Freeman 
was  elected  clerk. 

Judge  Gaston  from  the  committee  appointed  to  report  on 
taking  up  the  business  of  the  convention,  reported  that 



nineteen  committees  should  be  appointed,  each  to  consider 
some  separate  business. 

There  was  diversity  of  opinion  on  every  material  matter. 
Among-  the  first  questions  determined  was  as  to  the  abolish¬ 
ment  of  borough  representation.  It  was  generally  admitted 
that  there  was  no  reason  for  retaining  it  except  as  to  the 
commercial  towns,  New  Bern,  Edenton,  Wilmington  and 
Fayetteville.  Governor  Swain  urged  that  the  convention 
was  due  to  the  votes  of  these  towns  in  the  Assembly,  and 
he  appealed  for  the  retention  of  the  borough  system.  After 
full  debate,  eventually,  the  vote  against  any  exception  was 
103  to  23. 

The  most  interesting  question  was  as  to  depriving  free 
negroes  of  the  right  of  suffrage.  The  debate  on  this  ex¬ 
plored  the  whole  subject  of  the  condition  of  the  African 
race  in  the  South.  It  was  said  that  not  only  had  free 
negroes  never  voted  before  the  Revolutionary  War,  but 
that  for  years  afterwards  they  did  not  vote :  that  they  were 
not  citizens.  The  convention  seemed  to  be  about  evenly 
divided  in  opinion.  John  M.  Morehead  offered  an  amend¬ 
ment  allowing  those  negroes  to  vote  who  possessed  a  free¬ 
hold  of  one  hundred  dollars;  but  the  convention  rejected 
this  by  a  vote  of  63  to  62;  and  then  by  a  vote  of  66  to  61, 
it  abrogated  in  toto  the  right  of  free  colored  persons  to  vote. 
Suffrage  was  to  be  confined  to  the  whites. 

When  the  subject  of  fixing  the  number  of  members  of 
the  different  houses  was  reached,  much  feeling  was  evoked. 
Originally  this,  as  all  the  other  subjects,  had  been  referred 
to  a  committee  of  thirteen ;  but  later  its  membership  was 
increased  to  twenty-six.  Governor  Swain,  chairman  of  the 
committee,  reported  that  the  Senate  should  be  composed  of 
50  members  and  the  House  of  120,  the  greatest  numbers 
specified  in  the  act  providing  for  the  convention.  The  limits 
imposed  by  the  Legislature,  being  the  compromise  reached 
leading  to  the  passage  of  the  act,  were  for  the  Senate  not 
less  than  34  nor  more  than  50,  and  for  the  House  not  less 
than  90  nor  more  than  120;  and  it  was  generally  considered 
that  the  convention  should  regard  the  proportion  between 
these  suggested  numbers ;  and  that  in  awarding  member- 
24  * 












ship  to  the  senatorial  districts  regard  should  be  given  to 
property;  and  that  representation  in  the  House  should  be 
according  to  the  Federal  population,  counting  negroes  at 
three-fifths.  The  committee  of  26  reported  in  favor  of  the 
greatest  number  in  each  house ;  but  there  was  great  diver¬ 
sity  of  opinion  as  to  the  basic  number.  There  was  also 
great  controversy  over  the  incidental  question  as  to  whether 
borough  representation  should  be  retained. 

The  compromise  made  in  the  Assembly  by  which  the  act 
providing  for  the  convention  was  passed  was  strongly  urged 
by  those  who  wanted  no  radical  change.  Wellborn  from 
Wilkes  said  fifty  years  earlier  he  had  brought  the  subject 
of  a  reform  of  the  Constitution  before  the  Legislature  and 
it  had  been  constantly  agitated  ever  since.  “We  have  asked 
them  for  appropriations  to  make  highways  and  railroads  and 
what  has  been  their  answer  ?  They  said  nature  had  sup¬ 
plied  us  (them)  with  the  means  of  reaching  a  good  market, 
and  we  will  not  be  taxed  for  your  benefit.  If  the  west  had 
been  in  power  the  Central  Railroad  from  Beaufort  to  the 
mountains  would  have  long  since  been  completed.  The 
Cape  Fear  and  Yadkin  would  have  been  united;  a  vigorous 
system  of  internal  improvement  would  have  been  carried 
into  successful  operation.  .  .  .  No  wonder  when  a 

North  Carolinian  goes  from  home  he  is  ashamed  to  own 
the  place  of  his  nativity.” 

Macon  said  he  “disapproved  of  any  plan  of  internal  im¬ 
provements  in  which  the  government  was  to  take  a  part. 
All  improvements  of  this  kind  ought  to  be  the  work  of  in¬ 

Spaight  replying  to  Wellborn  asked:  “In  what  respect 
had  the  State  been  degraded?  He  had  always  felt  proud 
of  being  a  North  Carolinian.  Look  at  our  judiciary,  our 
laws,  at  our  University  which  stands  on  a  footing  equal  to 
any  other  institution  in  our  sister  states.  As  to  the  great 
emigrations,  they  are  equally  as  great  for  South  Carolina. 
The  cause  was  the  sales  of  our  public  lands ;  make  all  the 
internal  improvements  you  choose,  it  will  have  no  effect  on 
emigration  while  the  land  sales  continue.” 



Wilson  of  Perquimans  in  the  course  of  a  very  lengthy 
address  said  that  it  was  erroneous  to  think  of  North  Caro¬ 
lina  as  degraded.  He  had  been  through  Virginia,  and  if 
“that  State  were  in  a  more  thriving  condition  than  North 
Carolina  the  evidences  of  it  are  not  to  be  discovered.  Take 
the  whole  State,  and  the  superiority  is  ours.  The  gentleman 
for  Wilkes  thinks  if  a  railroad  were  constructed  to  the  west 
the  mountains  would  be  converted  into  rich  fields  and 
blooming  gardens.  He  would  be  sorely  disappointed ;  nine- 
tenths  of  their  land  is  exhausted  and  not  worth  cultivating, 
contrasted  with  thousands  of  acres  annually  brought  into 
the  market  in  the  southwestern  states.  Gain  is  the  principle 
that  prompts  men  to  action;  and  as  long  as  the  western 
lands  are  kept  in  the  market  it  is  impossible  to  check  the 
tide  of  emigration.” 

Spaight  of  Greene,  in  an  elaborate  speech,  made  similar 
and  even  stronger  statements.  “South  Carolina  lost  by 
emigration  even  more  than  North  Carolina.” 

Gaston,  in  the  course  of  a  great  adress,  said :  “An 
omission  to  settle  this  question  (of  representation)  now,  in 
such  a  manner  as  to  tranquilize  the  public  mind,”  he  should 
regard  as  no  ordinary  calamity.  He  did  not,  however, 
“anticipate,  in  that  event,  the  result  predicted  by  the  gentle¬ 
man  from  Buncombe  (Governor  Swain).  That  gentleman 
in  earnest  language  had  predicted  that  if  a  satisfactory  ar¬ 
rangement  were  not  now  made,  the  people  of  the  west  would 
rise  like  the  strong  man,  in  his  unshorn  might,  and  pull 
down  the  entire  political  edifice.  Sir,  the  strong  man  of  Zorah, 
bowing  down  with  all  his  might,  tugged  at  massy  pillars 
till  he  buried  all  beneath  one  hideous  ruin.  It  was  a  glorious 
deed.  Should  our  friends  in  the  west  in  a  moment  of  pas¬ 
sion  overthrow  the  existing  Constitution,  the  mad  triumph 
will  be  a  triumph  over  order  and  law,  over  themselves,  their 
friends,  their  country. 

“There  was  much  in  North  Carolina  to  respect  and  love. 
In  no  land  was  justice  administered  with  greater  purity, 
and  in  no  state  in  the  Union  was  there  less  of  violence,  and 
malevolence  and  corruption  of  faction.  But  much,  very 
much  could  be  done  for  the  improvement  of  her  physical 










debates,  120 



Term  of 



condition.”  He  hailed  with  delight  the  institutions  spring¬ 
ing  up  in  various  parts  of  the  country  for  the  instruction 
of  youth ;  but  there  was  need  for  united  efforts  to  accom¬ 
plish  the  intellectual  and  moral  advancement  of  the  State. 
He  closed  with  an  earnest  appeal  for  the  education  of  the 
poor  and  humble. 

Spaight  said :  “What  had  principally  prevented  internal 
improvements  from  being  successful  is,  we  have  constantly 
attempted  to  do  too  much.  In  the  Legislature  there  was 
not  only  an  eastern  and  western  interest,  but  there  was  a 
Roanoke,  a  Cape  Fear  and  a  Neuse  interest;  and  the  result 
had  been  to  prevent  anything  being  effectually  done.” 

After  much  hot  debate,  the  membership  in  the  Senate 
was  fixed  at  fifty,  and  then  followed  for  several  days  a  con¬ 
test  over  that  for  the  House ;  but  again  the  committee  was 
sustained  by  a  vote  of  76  to  52. 

Later,  when  the  subject  of  apportioning  the  membership 
was  reached,  borough  representation  was  negatived ;  and  a 
particular  proposition  to  give  borough  representation  to 
New  Bern,  Wilmington  and  Fayetteville  was  rejected  by 
74  noes  to  47  ayes. 

The  convention  now  threw  the  counties  into  fifty  districts, 
each  entitled  to  elect  a  Senator,  two  of  the  small  counties 
being  embraced  in  a  district,  which  deprived  the  east  of 
ten  Senators. 

Lincoln  and  Orange  were  allowed  four  members :  of 
twelve  counties  awarded  three  members  only  one,  Halifax, 
was  in  the  east ;  of  the  twenty-six  counties  with  a  single 
member,  six  were  of  the  west  and  twenty  of  the  east ;  while 
by  abolishing  borough  representation  the  east  lost  five.  Al¬ 
together  the  east  lost  thirty-five  members  of  the  Assembly. 
The  term  of  office  of  the  Governor,  members  of  Assembly 
and  State  officers  was  fixed  at  two  years,  and  there  were  to 
be  biennial  sessions  of  the  Legislature. 

At  length,  on  June  26,  at  the  end  of  three  weeks,  the 
question  of  amending  the  32b  section  applying  a  religious 
test  for  office  came  up.  The  debate  on  that  subject  was  a 
most  notable  one.  There  were  those  who  considered  that 
the  popular  feeling  against  any  modification  of  that  section 



would  endanger  the  acceptance  of  the  other  changes  in 
the  Constitution,  but  generally  there  prevailed  a  liberal 
spirit  in  regard  to  it.  Judge  Gaston,  a  Catholic,  made  one 
of  his  greatest  addresses.  He  sought  to  show  that  the  pro¬ 
hibition  did  not  extend  to  a  Catholic :  and  he  said  such  was 
the  opinion  of  the  best  legal  advisers  in  and  out  of  the  State. 
That  personally  he  would  be  indifferent,  but  as  a  citizen  he 
hoped  that  the  section  would  be  modified.  His  speech  for 
its  fullness,  learning  and  eloquence  remains  an  honor  to  the 

Judge  Toomer’s  speech  also  was  noteworthy.  He  de¬ 
clared  that  the  prohibition  of  the  sections  had  ever  been  a 
dead  letter;  that  Caswell,  the  president  of  the  convention 
that  adopted  it,  had  been  considered  a  Catholic,  his  parents 
being  Catholics;  that  neither  Jew,  nor  atheist  nor  Catholic 
had  ever  been  denied  office  because  of  the  section. 

It  was  proposed  to  substitute  the  word  “Christian”  for 
“Protestant,”  and  eventually  the  motion  was  adopted  by  74 
to  51. 

When  the  proposition  to  elect  the  Governor  by  the  people 
every  two  years  was  reached,  Gaston  and  some  others  stren¬ 
uously  opposed  it.  The  Governor  had  only  administrative 
powers  and  duties ;  the  change  would  introduce  ferment 
and  faction.  No  state  was  more  free  from  such  evils  than 
North  Carolina.  In  reply,  Wellborn  asked:  “How  was 
it  that  our  State  had  been  called  ‘Poor  old  North  Carolina’? 
It  was  because  we  had  done  nothing  to  improve  our  ad¬ 
vantages.  We  need  great  improvements,  and  the  time  is 
near  at  hand  when  we  will  make  them.”  The  report  of  the 
committee  was  adopted  by  a  vote  of  74  to  44.  Eventually, 
when  all  the  proposed  changes  had  been  formulated,  on  the 
final  question  of  submitting  them  to  the  people,  the  vote 
stood  81  to  20. 

Before  adjournment  Gaston  offered  a  resolution  tendering 
thanks  and  appreciation  to  the  venerable  President.  Macon 
feelingly  responded.  At  the  close,  he  said :  “While  my 
life  is  spared,  if  any  of  you  should  pass  through  the  county 
in  which  I  live,  I  shall  be  glad  to  see  you.”  When  the  ap¬ 
plause  had  ceased  Carson  rose  and  mentioned  that  he  was 


Journal,  331 

elected  by 






about  to  leave  North  Carolina  to  reside  in  the  west,  and  he 
would  ever  be  happy  to  see  any  friend  from  North  Carolina. 

The  convention  having  completed  its  work  on  July  n 
adjourned,  and  the  proposed  amendments  being  submitted 
to  the  people  were  ratified,  the  vote  being  26,771  in  favor 
and  21,606  against;  a  majority  of  5,166.  In  Brunswick  not 
a  vote  was  cast  for  ratification ;  in  Tyrrell  1  ;  in  Hyde  2 ;  and 
so  on.  In  Burke  one  vote  was  for  rejection;  in  Ruther¬ 
ford  2;  in  Surry  4;  in  Haywood  and  Wilkes  8;  and  so  on. 
But  generally  the  east  was  more  liberal  than  the  west,  and 
the  western  voters  were  more  numerous  than  those  of  the 

Swain  President  of  University 

On  January  14,  1834,  Col.  William  Polk,  the  surviving 
field  officer  of  the  N.  C.  Continentals,  passed  away.  Be¬ 
cause  of  his  shining  virtues  and  sterling  worth,  his  eminence 
in  patriotic  work  and  his  charming  personality,  he  was  an 
ornament  to  society,  respected  and  revered,  and  his  loss  was 
mourned  throughout  the  State. 

A  year  later,  in  1835,  there  died  at  Fayetteville,  Samuel 
Ashe  of  New  Hanover,  doubtless  the  last  surviving  officer 
of  our  Continentals.  Of  him  George  Davis,  in  his  Uni¬ 
versity  address  twenty  years  later,  said  in  an  eloquent  and 
striking  eulogy:  “He  was  the  last  of  all  the  Romans. ” 

On  the  27th  of  January,  1835,  Dr.  Caldwell,  the  president 
of  the  University,  died.  He  had  been  at  its  head  for  nearly 
forty  years.  He  was  one  of  the  best  scholars  and  teachers 
in  the  State.  He  had  seen  the  number  of  matriculates  rise 
to  173  in  1823,  but  then  from  various  causes  it  had  fallen 
to  100.  The  University  was  languishing. 

On  Dr.  Caldwell’s  death,  Dr.  Mitchell  acted  temporarily 
as  president.  On  the  20th  of  June,  twenty-nine  trustees 
met  and  sought  to  secure  a  president.  Governor  Swain’s 
term  of  office  was  expiring,  and  he  desired  the  position. 
Judge  Cameron  approved,  and  the  trustees  generally  agreed. 
He  had  many  of  the  desired  qualifications  although  he  was 
lacking  in  fine  scholarship.  He  entered  at  once  on  his 
duties  and  made  a  most  successful  president  of  the  Uni- 



versity.  There  were  only  89  matriculates  in  1835  ;  in  1837, 
142;  and  1838,  164;  and  still  year  by  year  the  number 

Just  as  the  convention  adjourned,  Chief  Justice  Marshall, 
who  had  held  the  circuit  court  at  Raleigh  for  a  generation, 
and  was  so  highly  esteemed  that  his  presence  was  always  a 
beneficial  influence,  died  at  Philadelphia.  Many  of  the  pub¬ 
lic  men  of  the  State  hoped  that  Gaston  would  be  appointed 
by  the  President  as  his  successor,  but  the  Attorney-General, 
Taney,  was  selected. 

The  last  Assembly  under  old  system 

When  the  Assembly  met,  Moseley  was  reelected  Speaker 
of  the  Senate,  and  W.  H.  Haywood  was  taken  in  the  House. 

The  returns  of  the  voting  on  the  amendments  to  the  Con¬ 
stitution  had  not  been  officially  compiled,  but  doubtless  it 
was  known  that  they  had  been  adopted  and  that  this  would 
•  be  the  last  Assembly  under  the  old  system.  The  Democrats 
having  a  majority,  Richard  D.  Spaight  was  elected  Gov¬ 
ernor  over  his  opponent,  the  great  Cape  Fear  lawyer,  Wil¬ 
liam  B.  Meares. 

Governor  Swain’s  final  message  was  full  on  the  ordinary 
topics  that  engaged  attention.  Particularly  he  inveighed 
against  the  propaganda  of  the  abolitionists,  deplored  the 
continued  exodus  and  urged  local  improvements.  He  said : 
“In  much  the  larger  portion  of  the  State  the  past  year  has 
been  a  season  of  more  than  ordinary  prosperity.  The  pro¬ 
duction  of  articles  necessary-  for  the  sustenance  of  human 
life  has  been  abundant  and  our  great  agricultural  staple 
has  commanded  a  higher  price  than  has  been  known  in 
many  years.  Our  citizens  always  distinguished  for  pru¬ 
dence  and  economy  are  at  present  probably  less  involved  in 
pecuniary  difficulties  than  at  any  previous  time  of  our 
history.”  However,  “the  tide  of  emigration,”  said  the  Gov¬ 
ernor,  “continues  to  flow  in  a  copious  and  steady  current 
to  the  new  states  and  territories.”  And  he  adverted  to  the 
absence  of  educational  facilities  and  of  internal  improve- 

Death  of 



The  day  of 
the  change 

provided  for 


ments  as  causes  swelling  the  emigration  and  giving  other 
states  advantages  of  North  Carolina. 

On  December  4,  the  Governor  transmitted  the  result  of 
the  voting  on  the  amendments  showing  their  adoption ;  and 
made  his  proclamation  that  the  changes  in  the  Constitution 
would  be  in  effect  on  January  1,  1836.  Governor  Swain, 
still  a  young  man,  had  the  satisfaction  of  feeling  that  he 
had  borne  a  chief  part  in  bringing  about  these  changes  in 
the  Constitution  of  the  State  which  the  western  people  had 
so  much  at  heart  as  possibly  leading  to  the  material  ad¬ 
vantage  of  that  section  of  the  State.  He  had  exhibited 
a  capacity  for  securing  results  that  singled  him  out  as  one 
of  the  most  influential  men  of  his  generation. 

Under  the  changed  Constitution,  the  Legislature  now  had 
to  provide  for  the  election  of  a  Governor  and  of  Assembly- 
men.  The  sheriffs  were  directed  to  open  the  polls  in  their 
several  precincts  for  the  election,  on  the  same  day  in  1836, 
as  for  the  Assembly  theretofore,  and  biennially  thereafter ; 
and  make  their  returns  for  Governor  to  the  Secretary  of 
State  who  was  to  deliver  them  to  the  Speaker  of  the  Senate. 

The  Legislature  incorporated  the  Raleigh  and  Gaston 
Railroad  Company,  but  did  not  subscribe  for  stock.  It 
also  incorporated  the  Raleigh  and  Fayetteville  Railroad,  and 
a  road  from  Milton  to  Salisbury.  The  charter  of  the  Wil¬ 
mington  and  Raleigh  Company  was  amended  to  allow  that 
company  to  construct  its  road  to  meet  the  Petersburg  and 
Portsmouth  roads  at  Roanoke  River. 

South  Carolina  and  other  states  had  chartered  the  Cin¬ 
cinnati  and  Charleston  Railroad  Company,  and  the  Assem¬ 
bly  passed  an  act  of  similar  effect. 

William  Tannahill  and  Bryan  Saunders  were  vested  with 
the  privilege  of  running  steamboats  on  the  Pamlico  and 
Tar  rivers  for  eighteen  years.  The  Wilmington  Marine 
Hospital  was  incorporated.  Eight  academies  were  incor¬ 
porated  including  the  Episcopal  School  at  Raleigh,  and 
nine  gold  mining  companies  were  chartered. 

The  Assembly  also  adopted  strong  resolutions  on  the 
subject  of  the  Abolitionists,  whose  activities  knew  no 



bounds  and  whose  object  was  to  excite  the  negroes  to  in¬ 
surrection  and  massacre. 

The  frost  year 

Notwithstanding  the  happy  picture  of  conditions  drawn 
by  the  Governor  it  has  been  understood  that  the  year  1835 
was  distinguished  for  its  numerous  frosts  in  the  central  part 
of  the  State.  A  letter,  written  in  June,  1835,  by  Wesley 
Heartsfield  of  Wake  County  to  his  brother,  who  had  moved 
to  Florida,  says:  “You  requested  me,  in  the  first  place, 
to  write  you  how  I  come  on  in  the  married  state — and  that  I 
will  do  with  pleasure.  I  was  married  on  the  fifth  of  March, 
and  I  had  a  very  cold  time  of  it,  for  there  was  at  that  time 
three  snows  on  the  ground,  one  on  the  others ;  but  I  did  not 
mind  that ;  the  company  was  very  agreeable  at  both  places. 
I  have  got  a  pretty,  kind,  decent,  good-natured,  obedient, 
smart,  pious,  loving  wife,  and,  of  course,  we  get  along 
pretty  well.  The  weather  is  cold  enough  this  morning  to 
sit  by  a  fire,  and  on  the  twenty-third  of  May  we  had  a  little 
frost,  but  not  to  bite  anything. 

“I  saw  Mr.  Wiggins  the  other  day  and  he  wishes  you  to 
write  him  word  whether  or  not  you  think  he  would  be  ben¬ 
efited  in  selling  off  and  coming  to  that  country. 

“We  have  hard  times  here  and  worse  are  coming.  Every¬ 
thing  sells  high.  Corn  sells  at  $4.50  and  $5.00  per  barrel. 
Fodder  and  oats,  $1.50  per  hundred.  Negroes  are  very 
high  indeed.” 

A  letter  of  1923  from  the  Assistant  Attorney-General, 
Frank  Nash,  says :  “There  was  an  old  man,  and  a  very  ex¬ 
cellent  man,  who  lived  in  Orange  County,  named  Holden. 
He  died  some  ten  or  twelve  years  ago  upwards  of  ninety 
years  of  age.  When  he  was  about  sixty-five  years  of  age 
a  horse  ran  away  with  him,  threw  him  out  of  his  buggy  and 
dislocated  his  neck,  but  as  above  said,  he  lived  to  be  over 
ninety  years  of  age.  At  the  time  I  saw  him,  his  mind  was 
entirely  clear  and  he  told  me  that  he  recalled  distinctly  the 
famous  year  in  which  crops  were  destroyed  by  excessive 
cold.  He  said  that  he  had  a  field  of  wheat  just  in  bloom 
when  a  freeze  came  the  latter  part  of  May  and  blasted  it 


The  women 




as  though  hot  water  had  been  poured  upon  it.  His  recol¬ 
lection  was  that  the  year  was  1835. 

“Dr.  William  Strudwick  told  me  that  his  father  told  him 
that  there  was  only  one  month  in  that  year  in  which  there 
was  no  frost  and  that  was  July.  According  to  these  ac¬ 
counts,  the  only  crops  raised  that  year  were  Irish  potatoes 
and  corn,  and  the  corn  crop  was  very  short.” 

The  Raleigh  Register  of  February  10,  1835,  said:  “Sun¬ 
day  last  is  thought  to  be  the  coldest  day  ever  felt  in  this 
latitude.  At  six  o’clock  in  the  morning,  February  8,  the 
thermometer  was  one  degree  below  zero.  ...  At  Fay¬ 
etteville  it  was  two  degrees  below.” 

In  its  issue  of  August  23,  1830,  the  Register  said:  “The 
weather  destroyed  or  greatly  damaged  the  crops,  which 
were  burned  up  by  heat  and  drought.”  Such  disasters  to 
crops  were  elements  in  the  movement  to  other  localities. 


Railroad  Beginnings 

General  conditions. — Great  land  sales. — The  public  debt  ex¬ 
tinguished. — Distribution  of  surplus  among  the  states. — Van  Bu- 
ren  and  Hugh  White  nominated. — Dudley  for  Governor  by  the 
Whigs. — The  Raleigh  and  Gaston  road. — The  Wilmington  road 
goes  to  Weldon. — Dudley  President. — Democrats  nominate 
Spaight. — Van  Buren  elected. — The  Assembly  against  Mangum. 
— Strange  chosen. — Nash,  Pearson  and  other  new  judges. — The 
west  jubilant. — Spaight’s  message. — Stocks  made  personal  prop¬ 
erty. — Surplus  fund  for  schools. — Committee  recommends  invest¬ 
ing  in  railroad  and  bank  stock. — Morehead  opposed  to  Wilming¬ 
ton  and  Weldon  road. — The  fund  invested. — County  of  Davie. — 
Cherokee  lands  open  for  entry. — Lake  Mattamuskeet  to  be  drain¬ 
ed. — The  Halifax  road  to  be  absorbed  by  the  Wilmington. — The 
Cape  Fear  and  Yadkin  to  be  extended. — Caldwell’s  project. — New 
projects. — The  cotton  manufacturing  companies  at  Fayetteville, 
Rocky  Mount,  Lexington,  Yadkin,  Randolph,  Weldon,  Cane 
Creek,  Milton,  Salem. — Other  incorporations. — Davidson  College, 
Wake  Forest. — The  silk  craze. — The  arsenals. — Chang-Eng. — The 
financial  crash. — Progress  of  railroad  construction. — Conflicting 
interests. — Wilmington  seeks  the  trade  of  Greensboro. — Dudley 
reelected. — His  pronounced  views. — To  send  our  products 
through  our  own  ports. — The  Internal  Improvement  Committee. 
— Laid  on  table. — Aid  given  to  roads. — Nags  Head  Inlet. — Com¬ 
mon  schools  established. — The  expunging  resolution. — The 
Whigs  avoid  instructing. — The  Senators  do  not  at  once  resign. 

General  conditions 

Jackson’s  last  year  in  the  presidency  had  been  full  of 
serious  questions.  In  1833,  he  had  directed  that  no  more 
public  moneys  should  be  deposited  in  the  United  States 
Bank,  and  thereafter  they  were  deposited  in  State  banks. 

About  that  time  an  era  of  inflation  and  speculation  set  in. 
The  purchase  of  government  lands  largely  exceeded  all  ex¬ 
pectations.  Funds  came  in  so  rapidly  that  by  January, 
1836,  the  public  debt  was  entirely  extinguished  and  $25,- 
000,000  had  accumulated  as  a  surplus.  By  June  the  sur¬ 
plus  reached  $40,000,000. 

The  great  deposits  in  the  State  banks  led  to  wild  specula¬ 
tion,  and  as  a  remedy,  Congress  in  June,  1836,  passed  an 
act  to  distribute  the  unnecessary  surplus  among  the  states, 
in  four  quarterly  installments,  beginning  January  1,  1837. 


to  be 




The  Whigs 

And  to  check  the  purchases,  the  President  in  July,  directed 
that  payment  for  land,  except  in  the  case  of  actual  settlers, 
should  be  made  in  specie. 

In  May  1835,  the  supporters  of  the  President  held  a  con¬ 
vention  in  Baltimore  and  unanimously  nominated  Van  Buren, 
who  was  the  Vice  President,  to  succeed  Jackson.  For  some 
reasons  Van  Buren  was  not  acceptable  to  all  the  former  sup¬ 
porters  of  Jackson,  while  there  was  very  strong  opposition 
to  him  by  the  Whigs.  Although  his  nomination  consoli¬ 
dated  the  Democrats  of  the  North,  it  stimulated  the  Whigs 
in  the  opposition. 

When  the  Legislature  adjourned,  the  Whig  members  had 
a  meeting  and  organized  their  party  by  appointing  commit¬ 
tees  in  every  county.  A  month  later,  the  Raleigh  Whigs 
put  up  for  President,  Hugh  L.  White,  a  native  of  Iredell 
County,  who  had  had  a  highly  honorable  career  in  Tennes¬ 
see  and  in  the  Senate ;  and  for  Governor,  they  selected 
Edward  B.  Dudley  of  New  Hanover,  who  was  well  known 
as  one  of  the  champions  of  internal  improvements. 

The  railroads 

There  had  been  a  road  chartered  to  run  from  Raleigh 
to  the  Roanoke  River,  known  as  the  Raleigh  and  Gaston. 
The  promoters  of  this  route  met  at  Raleigh  on  January  2 
and  large  subscriptions  being  made,  the  company  was  or¬ 
ganized  on  February  4,  the  Whigs  taking  the  lead;  and 
actual  construction  began  in  June.  There  was  likewise  a 
proposition  to  build  a  road  from  Raleigh  to  Fayetteville, 
and  perhaps  this  may  have  determined  Raleigh  not  to  sub¬ 
scribe  for  the  line  to  Wilmington.  At  any  rate,  the  in¬ 
corporators  of  the  Wilmington  and  Raleigh  road  meeting 
with  no  substantial  aid  from  Raleigh  and  having  obtained  an 
amendment  to  their  charter  allowing  the  road  to  be  built 
to  the  Roanoke,  now  considered  changing  this  route  to 
Weldon.  On  March  14,  the  company  organized  at  Wil¬ 
mington,  determined  to  go  to  Weldon,  and  elected  Edward 
B.  Dudley  president.  Mr.  Dudley  was  originally  of  On¬ 
slow  County,  but  having  come  to  Wilmington  as  a  soldier 
during  the  war  of  1812,  he  remained  there.  His  subscrip- 



tion  to  the  railroad  was  $25,000  and  that  of  Wilmington  was  1836 
correspondingly  large.  The  Whigs  had  taken  the  initia¬ 
tive  in  these  enterprises  and  they  stood  before  the  people 
as  the  particular  friends  of  internal  improvements. 

Meetings  in  the  counties  brought  forward,  naturally, 
Governor  Spaight  as  the  Democratic  candidate  for  Gov¬ 
ernor,  and  soon  the  Standard  put  up  his  name  at  the  head 
of  its  column.  Similarly,  Whig  meetings  brought  out  ^  fi 
Edward  B.  Dudley  and  these  became  the  contestants  for  contest 
Governor  at  the  first  election  by  the  voters  of  the  State. 

Great  interest  was  aroused;  and  while  the  main  issues  dis¬ 
cussed  were  those  growing  out  of  Federal  politics,  yet  Dud¬ 
ley  representing  active  exertions  in  the  cause  of  internal 
improvements,  offered  some  hope  for  the  future.  Such 
were  the  conditions  when  the  election  came  off  in  August, 


The  campaign  turned  largely  on  Jackson’s  course  in  re¬ 
gard  to  the  United  States  Bank  and  on  the  right  of  the  As¬ 
sembly  to  instruct  Senators.  And  as  Mangum  had  appealed 
to  the  people  against  the  Assembly,  an  issue  was  made  that 
involved  him  particularly,  and  he  had  many  friends,  but 
he  had  taken  a  stand  against  the  Jackson  administration,  and 
Jackson  was  near  to  the  popular  heart.  The  result  of  the 
changes  in  the  Constitution  had  been  very  distasteful  to 
the  east,  where  apparently  much  bad  blood  was  engendered ; 
while  at  the  west  the  reverse  was  evident.  There  many 
counties  that  had  before  only  two  representatives  now  had 
three,  and  the  privilege  of  voting  for  the  Governor  imparted 
a  zeal  before  unknown.  The  scepter  had.  departed  from 
Israel ;  the  course  of  empire  was  to  the  west.  Although  the 
Democrats  stood  faithfully  to  Spaight,  yet  Dudley  was  the 
favorite,  and  in  the  fullest  vote  cast,  63,948,  won  over  House 
nis  competitor,  bor  some  reasons,  the  votes  of  three  coun¬ 
ties  were  not  embraced  in  the  official  returns.  Dudley’s 
majority  was  4,043. 

After  his  election,  Dudley  resigned  as  president  of  the 
railroad,  and  was  succeeded  by  General  James  Owen,  a 
brother  of  Governor  Owen,  under  whose  management  the 
road  was  constructed  and  operated  for  four  years. 



Van  Buren  elected 

In  the  presidential  election  the  opposition  to  Jackson 
was  not  united,  the  Whigs  not  being  yet  thoroughly  or¬ 
ganized.  Clay  seeing  he  stood  no  chance  of  an  election 
would  not  be  a  candidate.  General  Harrison  received  the 
chief  Whig  support,  but  Webster  was  voted  for  as  well 
as  White.  In  North  Carolina  the  Democrats  put  every 
should^*  to  the  wheel.  Even  Macon,  who  had  sought  re¬ 
tirement,  allowed  his  name  to  head  the  electoral  ticket.  His 
influence  was  still  great.  He  and  the  other  Van  Buren 
electors  were  chosen.  But  it  was  his  last,  expiring  effort 
for  his  party.  Seven  months  after  his  attendance  on  the 
electoral  college,  June  29,  1837,  he  passed  away,  sincerely 
lamented  by  the  people  of  the  State.  Van  Buren  carried 
15  states,  with  170  electoral  votes;  Harrison  7  states  with 
73  electoral  votes;  White,  Georgia  and  Tennessee;  Massa¬ 
chusetts  voted  for  Webster.  Later,  when  the  South  Caro¬ 
lina  Legislature  met,  Calhoun  gave  that  State  to  his  friend 


40,  294 



The  Assembly 

In  the  Legislature  the  parties  were  about  evenly  divided. 
When  it  met,  Hugh  Waddell  of  Orange  was  chosen  Speaker 
of  the  Senate  over  Moseley,  the  former  Democratic  Speaker, 
by  two  votes,  there  being  one  member  absent  and  one  va¬ 
cancy.  In  the  House,  William  H.  Haywood,  brother-in-law 
of  Dudley,  was  successful  over  William  A.  Graham  by 
seven  votes,  there  being  seven  seats  vacant. 

Mangum  now  considered  that  he  had  lost  in  his  contest  at 
the  polls.  He  realized  that  the  Assembly  was  adverse  to  his 
position  and  he  tendered  his  resignation.  On  December  3, 
the  election  of  his  successor  came  on,  the  nominees  being 
Robert  Strange  and  Thomas  Settle.  In  the  Senate  the  vote 
was  Strange  24,  Settle  25,  in  the  House,  Strange  61,  Settle 
58.  On  joint  ballot,  with  one  absent  from  each  House, 
the  Democrats  had  a  majority  of  two  votes.  Three  weeks 
later  an  election  came  off  for  the  full  term  and  Strange  was 
chosen,  receiving  seven  majority  in  the  House.  Robert 



Strange  was  a  native  of  Virginia,  who  had  early  in  life 
come  to  this  State,  and  was  associated  with  the  most  ac¬ 
complished  of  our  public  men.  Of  Judge  Strange,  it  has 
been  said :  “As  a  writer,  his  style  is  highly  imaginative ; 
his  taste,  chastened  by  an  intimate  acquaintance  with  the 
most  approved  authors  in  every  age,  is  classic  and  beautiful. 
His  eulogy  upon  Judge  Gaston  cannot  but  affect  the  heart, 
improve  the  feelings  and  delight  the  mind  of  all  who  may 
have  the  pleasure  of  reading  it.”  He  once  ventured  into 
the  realm  of  fiction  and  wrote  a  novel.  As  a  jurist,  he  ranked 
among  the  most  eminent  men  in  the  State.  At  that  session 
to  fill  vacancies  on  the  Superior  Court  bench,  Judges  Nash, 
Pearson,  Bailey  and  Toomer  were  elected.  After  ten  years, 
Judge  Nash  had  returned  to  the  bench  and  Richmond  Pear¬ 
son  now  began  his  judicial  career,  both  being  destined  to  win 
high  honor  and  to  wear  the  robes  of  the  Chief  Justice. 
Owen  Holmes  of  Wilmington  was  likewise  elected  a  judge, 
but  on  notification  he  declined. 

The  new  conditions 

The  western  members  and  those  who  had  favored  the 
change  in  the  Constitution  were  now  in  high  elation.  The 
past  was  behind  them,  the  future  offered  hope  and  the  rain¬ 
bow  of  promise  was  in  the  heavens.  And  coincident  was 
the  fortuitous  distribution  of  the  surplus  revenue.  Not 
only  was  the  power  to  proceed  in  their  hands  but  the  in¬ 
strumentality  was  provided.  The  line  between  old  things 
and  new  things  was  sharply  drawn,  and  the  Governor 
elected  by  the  people  was  a  progressive. 

Governor  Spaight,  accepting  his  defeat  with  equanimity, 
opened  his  message  with  a  reference  to  the  unexampled 
prosperity  of  the  country  and  to  the  termination  of  the  dis¬ 
turbing  questions  that  “have  made  us  a  divided  people.” 
He  hoped  that  “all  differences,  antipathies  and  dislikes,  if 
not  hatreds,  arising  from  the  agitation  would  now  termi¬ 
nate  although  we  could  not  expect  ‘that  hatred  or  dislike 
could  immediately  be  succeeded  by  love  and  affection.’  ” 

He  mentioned  the  act  of  Congress  requiring  the  public 
funds  to  be  deposited  with  the  states,  saying:  “The  faith 










of  the  State  is  pledged  for  its  return.  ...  If  you  re¬ 
ceive  it,  it  should  be  so  invested  as  to  be  returned  on  de¬ 
mand.”  He  submitted  communications  from  Maine,  Massa¬ 
chusetts,  Connecticut,  New  York  and  Ohio  and  six  other 
states  on  the  subject  of  “Incendiary  publications,  abolition 
and  slavery.” 

Now  the  prospects  of  having  a  fund  that  might  be  in¬ 
vested  in  improvements  and  in  the  advancement  of  educa¬ 
tion  awoke  the  liveliest  interest.  A  select  committee  of 
five  from  each  house  was  provided  for.  Mr.  Jordan  on 
December  3  reported  a  bill  from  the  committee  for  acepting 
the  deposit  which  was  unanimously  passed.  Another  was 
passed  to  make  stock  in  incorporated  companies  personal 
property ;  for  stock  in  railroad  companies  had  been  consid¬ 
ered  as  savoring  of  the  realty. 

The  Senate  having  concurred  in  accepting  the  offered 
deposit,  a  committee  of  one  from  each  congressional  dis¬ 
trict  on  the  part  of  each  house  was  raised  to  recommend 
the  disposition  of  it.  This  important  committee  consisted 
321  of  Senators  Polk,  Hawkins,  Morehead,  Kelly,  Davidson, 
Hussey,  Spruill,  Skinner,  Whitaker,  Rhinehardt,  Carson 
and  J.  W.  Bryan.  The  House  branch  was  Raynes,  Moore, 
Smallwood,  Hooker,  Sloan,  Fisher,  Blount  D.  Jordan,  Gra¬ 
ham,  Lee,  Cansler,  Patton  and  Courts. 

The  new  fund 

William  A.  Graham  for  the  committee  made  the  report 
that  the  State  debt  of  $400,000  be  purchased ;  that  the  bank 
stock  and  $187,800  of  cash  to  be  invested  in  bank  stock,  all 
amounting  to  $1,000,000  shall  belong  to  the  Literary  Fund; 
that  $200,000  be  expended  in  draining  the  swamp  lands ;  that 
the  State  should  subscribe  for  two-fifths  of  the  capital 
stock  of  the  Wilmington  and  Raleigh  Railroad  and  of  the 
Fayetteville  and  Western  Railroad;  that  the  profits  should 
go  to  the  public  schools. 

An  amendment  was  proposed  to  subscribe  $200,000  to  the 
Raleigh  and  Gaston  Railroad  but  was  voted  down  27  to  66, 
and  an  amendment  prepared  to  subscribe  to  the  Central 
Railroad  was  at  first  likewise  voted  down,  but  when  the 



committee  prepared  a  bill  to  give  effect  to  the  resolution, 
they  included  among  the  railroad  beneficiaries  the  Central 
road,  and  in  a  motion  to  strike  that  out,  the  vote  was  19 
to  74.  The  bill  passed  61  to  42  nays. 

In  the  Senate,  Mr.  Reid  moved  to  amend  the  bill  by  sub- 
scribing  two-fifths  of  the  stock  of  the  Milton  and  Salisbury 
Railroad,  but  this  failed  by  6  to  33.  Mr.  Morehead,  evi¬ 
dently  much  dissatisfied,  then  moved  to  strike  out  the  Wil¬ 
mington  and  Weldon  Railroad,  the  vote  being  11  to  28. 
Failing  in  that,  he  moved  to  postpone  the  bill  indefinitely, 
but  he  again  lost  the  vote  by  13  to  26.  On  the  final  passage, 
the  vote  was  26  to  13,  Morehead  and  a  dozen  others  oppos¬ 
ing  it. 

Eventually  the  “surplus  revenue”